by WorldTribune Staff, April 25, 2019
North Korea will need international “security guarantees” before it considers ending its nuclear program, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on April 25 after meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.
Such guarantees would have to be international, legally binding, and secure North Korea’s sovereignty, said Putin following the end of a daylong summit with Kim on an island off the Russian port city of Vladivostok.
Putin also took what some analysts called a veiled swipe at U.S. President Donald Trump for trying to strong-arm North Korea.
“We need to… return to a state where international law, not the law of the strongest, determines the situation in the world,” Putin said.
Related: Group sheltering Kim’s nephew continues to shake Pyongyang, April 2, 2019
Asked if Kim would be willing to continue his contact with the U.S., Putin said Kim would be guided by his “national interests,” but added that “we can’t resolve anything without talks.”
“Of course, I will speak tomorrow in Beijing with the leadership of the People’s Republic of China, but we will also openly and frankly discuss today’s meeting with the American leadership,” Putin said. “There are no secrets here, Russia’s position is always open, there are no conspiracies.”
Putin said Kim requested that his position be relayed to the U.S. side.
“Moreover, Kim Jong-Un himself asked us to inform the American side about his position, about the issues that arose for him in connection with the processes that are taking place on and around the Korean Peninsula,” Putin said.
Kim Jong-Un traveled from Pyongyang to Vladivostok on a private armored train for the nearly 700-kilometer trip along with a delegation of government and armed forces officials.
Earlier on April 25, Kim said he had “very meaningful exchange of views on issues of mutual interest” with Putin, adding that they had “discussed ways of peaceful settlement.”
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty noted in an April 25 report that Moscow and Pyongyang “have traditionally had close ties, although those relations became frayed somewhat after Russia’s financial support was slashed following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.”
In recent years, the two countries have grown closer, “although Moscow generally does not carry the influence of Pyongyang’s main ally, China,” the report said. “Russia often mixes criticism of North Korean actions with calls on the United States, South Korea, and Japan to refrain from any steps that might increase tension or provoke Pyongyang.”
In 2017, Russia voiced opposition to increasing international sanctions on North Korea and denounced what it called the international community’s “military hysteria” following Pyongyang’s sixth nuclear bomb test.
Kim’s father, the late Kim Jong-Il, met with Putin in Moscow in 2001 and in Vladivostok in 2002. The elder North Korean leader again visited Moscow in 2011 and met with then-President Dmitry Medvedev.