Resolving the North Korean nuclear crisis is impossible with sanctions and pressure alone, Russian President Vladimir Putin said after meeting his South Korean counterpart on Wednesday, again urging dialogue to achieve progress. Putin met Moon Jae-in on the sidelines of an economic summit in the far eastern Russian city of Vladivostok amid mounting international concerns that their shared neighbour plans more weapons tests, possibly a long-range missile launch ahead of a key weekend anniversary.
Putin denounced Pyongyang’s sixth and largest nuclear bomb test on Sunday, saying Russia did not recognise North Korea’s nuclear status. “Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear programme is a crude violation of UN Security Council resolutions, undermines the non-proliferation regime and creates a threat to the security of northeastern Asia,” Putin said at a joint news conference.
“At the same time, it is clear that it is impossible to resolve the problem of the Korean peninsula only by sanctions and pressure,” he said. No headway could be made without political and diplomatic tools, Putin said. South Korea’s Moon, who came to power earlier this year advocating a policy of pursuing engagement with Pyongyang, has come under increasing pressure to take a harder line on North Korea.
He and Putin “shared the understanding that resolving the North Korean issue is top priority”, Moon told reporters. Moon has asked the United Nations to consider tough new sanctions on North Korea after the latest nuclear test. He said on Wednesday it was inevitable oil supplies to the North would be cut and asked Putin to cooperate.