Vladimir Putin says pressure on North Korea 'futile'

Russian leader warns North Asia faces 'large-scale conflict' and urges dialogue without preconditions.

    Pressuring North Korea over its nuclear missile programme is "misguided and futile", Russian President Vladimir Putin says, arguing that only dialogue without preconditions can resolve the crisis.

    The Korean Peninsula was "balancing on the brink of a large-scale conflict", Putin wrote in an article to be published on Friday before a summit of BRICS economies to be held in China on Sunday.

    "Russia believes that the policy of putting pressure on Pyongyang to stop its nuclear missile programme is misguided and futile," he wrote in the article sent to media in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - the BRICS member states.

    "The region's problems should only be settled through a direct dialogue of all the parties concerned without any preconditions. Provocations, pressure and militarist and insulting rhetoric are a dead-end road."

    Explainer: Why didn't Japan shoot down Pyongyang's missiles?

    Putin said Russia and China, North Korea's most important ally, had drawn up a plan to ease tensions and create lasting peace without the use of threats or military force.

    In Seoul, a senior South Korean official also urged Pyongyang on Friday to return to the negotiating table, while warning against "continuing provocations".

    "Our government's stance that we need to peacefully resolve North Korean nuclear issues and Korean Peninsula issues remains unchanged," Lee Eugene, South Korean Unification Ministry deputy spokesperson, said. 

    "We urge North Korea to stop making rhetorical criticisms and threats and to come out to the path of dialogue and cooperation."

    Lee said Seoul and Washington continue to monitor North Korea's activities, acknowledging Pyongyang is capable of conducting another nuclear test "at any time within a short period of preparations".

    Pyongyang continues to be defiant despite international pressure to stop its missile tests [AP]

    France's foreign minister said on Friday that North Korea would have the capability to send long-range ballistic missiles in a few months and urged China to be more active diplomatically to resolve the crisis.

    "The situation is extremely serious... We see North Korea setting itself as an objective to have tomorrow or the day after missiles that can transport nuclear weapons. In a few months that will be a reality," Jean-Yves Le Drian told RTL radio.

    "North Korea must find the path to negotiations. It must be diplomatically active."

    Trump rhetoric

    The comments came amid US President Donald Trump's ongoing war of words with North Korea, with the US leader warning Pyongyang of "fire and fury" and North Korea threatening to fire missiles at the US Pacific territory of Guam.

    UK and Japan push for new sanctions against North Korea

    On Tuesday, the reclusive nation fired a ballistic missile over Japan in defiance of UN resolutions and new sanctions imposed last month, which are expected to slash its export revenues by one-third. 

    The test appeared to have been carried out by North Korea in response to ongoing war exercises between the United States and South Korea

    Analysts say North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un wants a real nuclear deterrent against the United States to ensure the survival of his government, believing it will strengthen his negotiating position when Pyongyang returns to talks.

    This year alone, North Korea has launched at least 13 missiles and some analysts believe it could have viable long-range nuclear missiles before the end of Trump's first term in early 2021.

    In response to North Korea's latest move, Japanese fighter jets joined US bombers and stealth aircraft in military exercises on Thursday in skies south of the Korean Peninsula.

    Trump also said, "talking is not the answer" to the crisis, without giving more details about his next move.

    Last week, Japan and the US imposed new sanctions on entities and individuals that support Pyongyang, including those in China and Russia.

    Explainer: Why didn't Japan shoot down Pyongyang's missiles?

    SOURCE: News agencies


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