Putin says putting pressure on North Korea is a 'dead-end road'

Russian President Vladimir Putin remarks that putting pressure on North Korea is misguided and futile

Photo: Al Jazeera
Photo: Al Jazeera

Russian President Vladimir Putin has weighed into the North Korea crisis, warning the US and others against going down a "dead-end road" and calling for talks to resolve the issue.

"Russia believes that the policy of putting pressure on Pyongyang to stop its nuclear missile program is misguided and futile," Putin said in an article released Thursday.

"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," Putin said. His comments were published just hours after the US and South Korea conducted a mock bombing raid on the Korean Peninsula, which Pyongyang referred to as a “rash act”.

Russia participated in the six-party talks, which occurred in the mid-2000’s in an attempt to get North Korea to abandon its then burgeoning nuclear program.

In his published comments, Putin said the situation was "balancing on the brink of a large-scale conflict."

On Thursday, four US F-35B fighter jets joined two US B-1B bombers and four South Korean F-15 fighter jets in a joint US-South Korean drill, which simulated a surgical strike on key enemy facilities, over the Pilsung Range in the eastern province of Gangwon, South Korea.

In a statement, US Pacific Command said the flyover was a "direct response" to North Korea's launch Tuesday of an intermediate range ballistic missile over Japan.

Pyongyang denounced the drill Thursday, with the state news agency KCNA describing them as "wild military acts."

"The US imperialists and the South Korean puppet forces do not hide their bellicose nature, claiming that the exercises are to 'counter' (North Korea's) ballistic rocket launches and nuclear weapons development," KCNA said.

The agency added that the US and South Korea were "taken aback" by North Korea's recent missile launch, the country's "first military operation in the Pacific."

That launch brought about panic in Japan, with air sirens sounding in the northern part of the country and residents receiving text messages, urging them to seek shelter in a strong structure or basement.

On Friday, scheduled emergency evacuation drills took place in multiple Japanese cities, practicing for a "missile launch from Country X."

Hundreds of local residents of Aomori and Hokkaido prefectures took shelter in community centres and public buildings when the mock siren was heard.

Following Tuesday's missile launch, Pyongyang said it would stage future military operations directed at the American territory of Guam, which has long been a focal point of North Korea's disdain with the US and is often mentioned as a target. It was specifically threatened by North Korea in 2013 and once again in August 2017, following a fiery exchange of threats and insults between Trump and the North Korean regime.

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