MOSCOW, May 19 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday urged the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to return to the negotiating table with international mediators.
Ban was concerned over the DPRK's latest short-range missile launches and urged the country "to refrain from further such acts," Ban told the RIA Novosti news agency.
The DPRK launched three short-range missiles into the Sea of Japan Saturday, the South Korean Defense Ministry said.
The United Nations was prepared to help Pyongyang come back to the six-party talks over its nuclear program and ease tensions on the Korean peninsula, Ban added.
The UN chief also expressed hopes that Russia could continue its efforts in reducing tensions and strengthening its contacts with the DPRK.
Tensions have been running high on the Korean Peninsula since the DPRK conducted its third nuclear test on Feb. 12 as a countermeasure against U.S.-South Korean military drills.
Pyongyang shut down an inter-Korean industrial complex in Kaesong in early April and pulled out 53,000 DPRK workers.
South Korea also withdrew its workers starting on April 26 after Pyongyang rejected Seoul's proposal for working-level talks.