Russian President Vladimir Putin believes that the North Korean nuclear crisis cannot be resolved by sanctions alone. He called on the international community not to drive Pyongyang into a corner.
“It is clear that it is impossible to solve the problems of the Korean peninsula by sanctions alone and pressure,” Putin said at the economic forum in Vladivostok, following talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-In.
“One shouldn’t give in to emotions and drive North Korea into a corner,” the Russian leader stated, adding that now everyone needs to show composure, avoiding “steps that lead to an escalation of tension.”
“Without political and diplomatic tools, it is very difficult to shift the situation” on the Korean peninsula, Putin noted.
“To be more precise, I think it is altogether impossible,” he said, pointing out that Moscow and Beijing had created a road-map for a settlement on the Korean Peninsula that is designed to promote the gradual easing of tensions and the creation of a mechanism for lasting peace and security.
The initiative of “double freezing,” put forward by the Russian and Chinese foreign ministers on July 4, is designed to cease all missile launches and nuclear tests by Pyongyang, as well as large-scale military exercises by Washington and Seoul. The plan was rejected by Washington.
“We call on all interested parties to take a closer look at this initiative which, in our view, offers a realistic way to reduce tensions and gradually approach a settlement,” the Russian leader noted on Wednesday.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in told Putin that the situation on the Korean Peninsula could become unpredictable if Pyongyang does not cut short its “provocative actions” following its latest nuclear bomb test.
“I want to recall that the situation on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia in general is complicated by the longstanding provocations of North Korea,” he said at the beginning of the meeting with Putin, as cited by Interfax.
“If North Korea does not stop its provocations, then we can face an unpredictable situation,” Moon warned.
The examples of Iraq and Libya have convinced the North Korean leadership that only nuclear deterrence can protect them, so no sanctions can dissuade them, Putin told journalists on Tuesday.
Pyongyang will not relinquish its military program under pressure of sanctions and military threats, the Russian leader said.
“Ramping up military hysteria in such conditions is senseless; it’s a dead end,” Putin added. “It could lead to a global, planetary catastrophe and a huge loss of human life. There is no other way to solve the North Korean nuclear issue, save that of peaceful dialogue.”
Last month, the UN Security Council unanimously agreed to impose more restrictive measures on Pyongyang, banning exports of coal, iron, lead, and seafood. The move came in response to North Korea’s missile launches in July which it, South Korea and the US all said were intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests.
Moscow has questioned the claim, arguing North Korea was testing intermediate range rockets.
China announced a full ban on imports of coal, iron, and seafood among other goods from North Korea as of August 15, thus depriving Pyongyang of major export revenues.