Russia has said that North Korea is ready to resume international talks on its nuclear programme.

The announcement came shortly after North Korea issued fresh threats on Thursday to carry out a new underground nuclear test in response to the recent UN adoption of a resolution urging an inquiry into the country's alleged rights abuses.

Sergey Lavrov, Russian foreign minister, voiced the North Korean position on Thursday after meeting Choe Ryong-hae, a special envoy of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, in Moscow.

Choe met Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this week to deliver a letter from Kim.

Lavrov said Kim's letter confirmed a desire to expand bilateral ties and "cooperate on settling the problems that still remain on the Korean Peninsula".

He said North Korea was ready to restart the six-way nuclear talks without preconditions on the basis of a joint statement issued in 2005.

North Korea has conducted three nuclear tests, most recently in February 2013.

Lavrov said North Korea is also ready to consider a Russian project of building a gas pipeline to South Korea via its territory.

The UN General Assembly's human rights committee adopted a statement on Tuesday condemning North Korea's human-rights record.

The non-binding resolution will come before the General Assembly in the coming weeks.

This was not the first resolution to reprimand North Korea over human rights, but it is the first to urge the Security Council to refer the issue to the International Criminal Court (ICC), and it includes the possibility that Kim himself could be targeted by prosecutors.

Source: AP