Vladimir Putin calls tougher sanctions on North Korea ‘useless’, warns of ‘global catastrophe’
Warning against imposing tougher sanctions on North Korea, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday said that such steps would be “useless and inefficient”. He also warned of a “global catastrophe” unless a diplomatic solution of North Korea problem is found.
"Resorting to just any sanctions in this situation is useless and inefficient," he told reporters in the Chinese city of Xiamen following a summit of the five-nation BRICS club of emerging economies.
"All of this can lead to a global planetary catastrophe and a great number of victims," he added.
Putin’s remarks comes a day after the US called for “strongest possible” measure against North Korea in the wake of a powerful nuclear test and warned that every nation that does business with Pyongyang and is aiding its "dangerous" nuclear intentions will be on its radar.
North Korea on Sunday carried out its most powerful nuclear test to date, claiming to have developed an advanced hydrogen bomb that could sit atop an intercontinental ballistic missile.
The announcement dramatically upped the stakes in its standoff with the international community over its banned weapons programmes, which have seen it subjected to seven sets of UN Security Council sanctions so far.
In addition to the US, South Korea, Japan, France and Britain, have called for stronger measures against North Korea, with several arguing for applying a potentially crippling oil embargo.
However, Putin made it clear that Russia was opposed to further interdictions. On the other hand, China which is North Korea's patron and closest political and economic partner is yet to take a clear stand on the issue.
Putin, speaking after an international gathering in China, said Russia condemned North Korea's "provocative" actions. However, he called for dialogue and warned against other actions that could escalate the crisis.
World powers are scrambling to react to the latest ominous advance in the North's rogue weapons programme, which has sent global tensions soaring.
US President Donald Trump has approved in principle the sale of "many billions of dollars' worth of military weapons and equipment" for South Korea, the White House said Monday.
South Korea said it fired a volley of ballistic missiles on Monday to simulate an attack on the North's nuclear test site, followed Tuesday by major live-fire drills at sea.
At an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council, US Ambassador Nikki Haley said Washington would present a new sanctions resolution for debate in the coming days.
Declaring that "enough is enough," Haley said existing measures not worked and accused North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un of "begging for war" with the country's sixth and most powerful nuclear test.
Seoul estimated the blast's yield at 50 kilotons, more than three times the size of the bomb detonated over Hiroshima in 1945.
Haley did not spell out what measures Washington was seeking, but diplomats said it could target oil supplies to North Korea - potentially dealing a major blow to its economy.
(With AP inputs)