Asked whether Ban would go to Pyongyang, Nesirky said the U.N. chief has offered to facilitate dialogue "to help to bring people together."
"Dialogue is what's needed to try to turn the volume down. The volume has been turned up tremendously high in recent days and the volume needs to be turned back down again and the secretary-general is certainly keen to help," he said.
Nesirky added that the U.N. was "providing very important life-saving assistance to people, particularly children" in North Korea.
Russia has appeared increasingly upset with North Korea, strongly criticizing its neighbor for its "defiant neglect" of U.N. Security Council resolutions.
"We are counting on maximum restraint and composure from all sides," a Russian foreign ministry statement said Friday.
Other nations with diplomatic missions in North Korea, such as the Czech Republic, Romania, Poland, Bulgaria and India, also said they were weighing the situation carefully. The Czechs said they had no plans to withdraw; the Romanians and Bulgarians were speaking with the 27-nation European Union about the situation.
"Naturally, we assess that there is no outside threat to North Korea whatsoever," said Marcin Bosacki, spokesman for Poland's Foreign Ministry. "In our opinion, the current military rhetoric is exclusively directed to the internal audience and does not reflect the true international intentions of the country."
AP writers Karl Ritter in Stockholm, Danica Kirka in London, Matt Lee in Washington, Edith Lederer at the United Nations, Veselin Toshkov in Sofia, Bulgaria, Alison Mutler in Bucharest, Romania, Monika Scislowska in Warsaw, Poland, Karel Janicek in Prague, Czech Republic, and Sam Kim in Seoul contributed to this story.
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