Tags: North Korea | putin | trump | defuse | nkorea | tension

Putin: Trump Seeking to Defuse NKorea Tensions

Image: Putin: Trump Seeking to Defuse NKorea Tensions

Thursday, 07 Sep 2017 07:46 AM

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the Trump administration was willing to solve the North Korean crisis through diplomacy, while reiterating that more sanctions wouldn’t prompt Kim Jong Un to give up his nuclear weapons.

“We see the administration’s desire to defuse this situation,” Putin said of the U.S. on Thursday at a forum in Vladivostok. He sat next to the leaders of two American allies, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

“I’m confident that things won’t get to the point of a large-scale conflict, especially involving the use of weapons of mass destruction,” Putin said. “All the conflicting sides have enough common sense and understanding of their responsibility to people, and we will be able to resolve this problem by diplomatic means.”

Putin has led a push to restart dialogue over North Korea’s nuclear program in recent days while the U.S. seeks to rally the United Nations Security Council for tougher sanctions, including a ban on oil imports. Russia and China, both of which can veto UN resolutions, are reluctant to impose any measures that could prompt Kim’s regime to collapse.

North Korea may fire another intercontinental ballistic missile on Saturday to mark the anniversary of its founding, South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon said in Seoul on Thursday. The yen strengthened on Lee’s remarks, which echoed previous comments from other officials who see Kim accelerating his push to acquire the capability to strike the U.S. with a nuclear weapon.

“We will reply to U.S. barbarian sanctions and pressure with our powerful countermeasures,” North Korea said in a Russian-language statement released in Vladivostok on Thursday.

China will support further UN action if it helps restart dialogue with North Korea, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Thursday. Asked about a potential ban on crude exports to North Korea, Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng reiterated that China will strictly enforce UN resolutions without directly commenting on the merits of the proposal.

A day earlier, President Donald Trump said he had a “very, very frank” phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“We will not be putting up with what’s happening in North Korea,” Trump told reporters Wednesday after the 45-minute conversation. Asked about possible U.S. military action, the president said “That’s not our first choice, but we’ll see what happens.”

The U.S. is circulating a draft resolution at the United Nations that would bar crude oil shipments to North Korea, ban the nation’s exports of textiles and prohibit employment of its guest workers by other countries, according to a diplomat at the world body.

The proposal, which also calls for freezing Kim’s assets, has been circulated to the 15 members of the Security Council, according to the diplomat, who asked not to be identified discussing internal deliberations. The U.S. has said it wants the council to take up tougher sanctions at a meeting Sept. 11.

‘Impossible to Scare’

Putin said on Thursday that North Korea won’t agree to end its nuclear program in return for easing sanctions.

“It’s impossible to scare them,” Putin said of North Korea. “They think that means the next step for them is an invitation to the cemetery.”

Moon said that South Korea was increasing pressure on Pyongyang in the hope of achieving a diplomatic and peaceful resolution to the crisis.

“I can say for sure that there will be no war on the Korean peninsula again,” Moon said. The U.S. also wants to resolve the North Korean issue through talks, he said.

Abe took a harder line, saying that North Korea must be made to give up its entire nuclear weapons and missile program. He added that North Korea was a grave and immediate threat.

The comments from Putin, Moon and Abe in Vladivostok came hours after South Korea bolstered its defenses against North Korean rockets, with the arrival of four launchers for a U.S. missile shield at a military base in South Korea.

China has opposed South Korea move to install the U.S. missile defense system known as Thaad, saying it could upset the regional security balance and be used against its own missile systems. Beijing on Thursday repeated a request to withdraw the system made by Lockheed Martin Corp.

Thaad is designed to destroy short-and-medium-range ballistic missiles at high altitudes in their “terminal” phase, as they descend. It’s different from conventional defense missiles, which seek to get close to a target and self-detonate to damage or deflect the threat.

North Korea fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile last month over Japan, which it called a “prelude” to launching rockets toward the U.S. territory of Guam.

In Tokyo, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters that Japan was preparing for various scenarios, including North Korea’s development of electromagnetic pulse attack capability.

© Copyright 2018 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin said the Trump administration was willing to solve the North Korean crisis through diplomacy, while reiterating that more sanctions wouldn't prompt Kim Jong Un to give up his nuclear weapons.
putin, trump, defuse, nkorea, tension
Thursday, 07 Sep 2017 07:46 AM
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