The Russian president on Tuesday warned that ramping up military hysteria with North Korea over its nuclear missile test could lead to a global catastrophe and instead advocated for renewed diplomatic efforts, a move that could hamper the US’ petition for tighter international sanctions.
Vladimir Putin, speaking at a press conference following a BRICS meeting in Xiamen in China, struck a discord with Washington’s approach to the North Korea crisis when he criticized the pursuit of further sanctions as useless and denounced military threats against the regime of Kim Jong-Un as dangerous, reports Xinhua news agency.
“Ramping up military hysteria in such conditions is senseless, it’s a dead end,” Putin said. “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, apart from through peaceful dialogue.”
Early on Sunday, the world was alerted to Pyongyang successfully carrying out its largest ever nuclear missile test in the mountains in northern North Korea when observers detected up an 6.3-magnitude earthquake.
North Korean state media broadcast triumphant claims of success soon after.
Amid fears that the North Korean regime was planning a ballistic missile test similar to that conducted on July 4, the US escalated its rhetoric and called upon the UN Security Council to completely isolate the so-called hermit kingdom from the outside world, including the severance of its fuel-trade channel with China.
China and Russia have both since distanced themselves from that approach.
“They would rather eat grass than give up their nuclear programme,” Putin said at the meeting of BRICS representatives, which gathers leaders from five emerging global economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
He told the audience that Russia condemned North Korea’s recent actions but opined that there was no other way to manage the situation than through dialogue.
Putin more directly criticized US diplomatic policy when he said it was drafted by people who confuse Australia with Austria, in reference to a famous slip of the tongue by former US President George W. Bush.
Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, on Monday called on the Security Council to impose the strongest possible sanctions on Pyongyang.
Meanwhile, the South Korean military has held drills as a show of force.
North Korea claimed that its nuclear warhead could be mounted onto an intercontinental ballistic missile, which would signal considerable progress in its nuclear programme.
Hours after the test, US President Donald Trump logged onto Twitter to denounce North Korea as an embarrassment to China, which he claimed was “trying to help (end the crisis) but with little success”.
He later said he was considering stopping all US trade with any country that maintained commercial relations with the North Korean regime. Russia and China both have trade links with Pyongyang.