Putin: Talk to North Korea, not threaten it

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that Moscow was opposed to any new countries acquiring nuclear weapons, but that the world should talk to North Korea rather than threaten it.

Putin, speaking in Beijing, said nuclear tests of the type that Pyongyang had been carrying out in recent weeks were unacceptable, but that a peaceful solution to rising tensions on the Korean peninsula was needed.

"I want to confirm that we are categorically against the expansion of the club of nuclear powers, including with the Korean Peninsula and North Korea," said Putin, who said any such move would be "harmful and dangerous".

"But at the same time, we understand that what we have observed in the world recently, and specifically flagrant violations of international law and incursions into the territory of foreign states, changes in regime, lead to such kinds of arms races."

Putin did not specify what countries he had in mind, but he has in the past repeatedly criticised the United States for military operations in Iraq, Libya and Syria, and accused it of trying to oust legitimate governments.

"In this connection, we need to act in a joined-up way, (and) strengthen the system of international guarantees with the help of international law and with the help of the UN Charter," said Putin.

"We need to return to dialogue with North Korea and stop scaring it and find ways to resolve these problems peacefully."

The Russian leader said he thought such an approach was possible because of what he called "the positive experience" of holding talks with Pyongyang in the past.

World leaders at Belt and Road Forum welcome banquet

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping, his wife Peng Liyuan and other leaders arrive for the welcoming banquet.
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping makes a toast during a welcome banquet.
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping (right) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) arrive for a welcome banquet for the Belt and Road Forum at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China.
  • Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (second left) and his partner Betty Batziana (left) stand with Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan (right)
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping, his wife Peng Liyuan and Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi.
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping, his wife Peng Liyuan and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping, his wife Peng Liyuan, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde and her husband Xavier Giocanti.
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping, his wife Peng Liyuan and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim.
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping poses next to his wife Peng Liyuan and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping, his wife Peng Liyuan, Vietnam's President Tran Dai Quang and his wife Nguyen Thi Hien.
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping, his wife Peng Liyuan, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and his partner Honeylet Avancena.
  • Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic (left) is greeted by Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan (right)
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping, his wife Peng Liyuan, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko and his son Nikolai.
  • Turkish President Tayyip (left), his wife Emine (second left), Chinese President Xi Jinping (second right) and his wife Peng Liyuan.
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping, his wife Peng Liyuan and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping, his wife Peng Liyuan, Argentine President Mauricio Macri and his wife Juliana Awada.
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping, his wife Peng Liyuan, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni and his wife Emanuela Mauro.
  • Ethiopia's PM Desalegn and his wife Roman Tesfaye pose with Chinese President Xi and his wife Peng.
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping, his wife Peng Liyuan, Swiss President Doris Leuthard and her husband Roland Hausin.
  • Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak (second left) and his wife Rosmah Mansor (left) stand with Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan (right) during a welcome ceremony for leaders attending the Belt and Road Forum
  • Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko, his son Nikolai and Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen make a toast during the welcoming banquet for the Belt and Road Forum at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China.
  • Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko (left) and his son Kolya (second left) present gifts to Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping, his wife Peng Liyuan, Fiji's Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama and his wife Maria Makitalena.
  • Peng Liyuan, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping attends the welcoming banquet for the Belt and Road Forum at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China.
  • Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko, his son Nikolai and Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen make a toast during the welcoming banquet for the Belt and Road Forum at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China.
  • Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe (second left) and his wife Maitree Wickremesinghe (left) pose with Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan (right)
  • Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta second left) and his wife Margaret Gakuo Kenyatta (left) pose with Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan (right)
  • Chilean President Michelle Bachelet (left) poses with Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan.

"If you recall, there was a time when North Korea announced it was suspending this kind of (nuclear) programme, but unfortunately certain participants in the negotiations process did not have enough patience. I think we need to return to this."

Putin said he was briefed by his defence minister after North Korea's latest missile test.

"This missile launch presented no threat to us, but it of course escalates this conflict and there is nothing good about that."

The Russian Defence Ministry said on Sunday that a ballistic missile fired by North Korea had crashed into the Sea of Japan around 500 kilometers (310.69 miles) off the Russian coast.

 

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