Russia worried by 'explosive' North Korea situation

MOSCOW (AFP) - Russia on Wednesday said it was worried by the "explosive" North Korea situation, saying even a simple human error could cause the crisis to spiral out of control.

"Russia has to be worried as we are talking about an explosive situation in the immediate vicinity of our Far East borders," Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov told the Interfax news agency.

Mounting tensions have seen Pyongyang threaten missile and nuclear strikes against the United States and its ally South Korea in response to UN sanctions and joint military drills.

"In the current tense atmosphere, it would only need an elementary human error or technical problem for the situation to go out of control and plunge into a critical dive," Mr Morgulov added.

Russia shares a short border with North Korea south of Vladivostok in its Far Eastern region but in the current crisis, Moscow has steered clear of overt criticism of its neighbour.

"We urge all sides to refrain from any comments or actions which could further complicate the situation," said Mr Morgulov.

In the latest escalation on Wednesday, North Korea blocked South Korean entry to a key joint industrial zone that serves as a crucial source of hard currency for the isolated state.

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