Putin says ready to play ‘constructive role’ on N Korea

Published: May 13, 2017

SEOUL: Russia’s President Vladimir Putin told his newly elected South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, in a phone call on Friday that he is ready to play a ‘constructive role’ in resolving North Korea’s nuclear threat, the South’s presidential office said.

Putin made the comment after Moon said the foremost task to boost cooperation between the two countries was to strengthen strategic bilateral communication to find a solution to curb North Korea’s nuclear threat, the Blue House said in a statement.

“We hope for Russia to play a constructive role in order for North Korea to stop with its nuclear provocations and go the way of denuclearisation,” Moon was cited as saying to Putin in the 20-minute conversation.

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“I, too, aim to find a way to begin talks quickly between North and South Korea as well as the six-party talks,” Moon said, referring to talks aimed at denuclearising North Korea involving the United States, China, Japan, Russia and the two Koreas.

The talks collapsed in 2008 after North Korea launched a rocket. Tension has been high for months on the Korean peninsula over North Korea’s nuclear and missile development and fears it will conduct a sixth nuclear test or test another ballistic missile in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions.

Meanwhile, North Korea sent a rare letter of protest to the US House of Representatives on Friday warning that a new package of tougher sanctions would only spur its development of nuclear weapons, North Korea’s state media reported.

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The protest was lodged by the recently revived Foreign Affairs Committee of North Korea’s Supreme People’s Assembly, which said the US House of Representatives was ‘obsessed’ with a sense of disapproval and warned it of dire consequences.

“The US House of Representatives should think twice,” the committee said in its letter, a copy of which was published by the KCNA state news agency.

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