Putin warns of ’major conflict’ over NKorea

02-09-2017
DH

"The problems in the region will only be solved via direct dialogue between all concerned parties, without preconditions," Putin said.

"Threats, pressure and insulting and militant rhetoric are a dead end," a statement from his office said, adding that heaping additional pressure on North Korea in a bid to curb its nuclear programme was "wrong and futile."

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula are at their highest point in years after a series of missile tests by Pyongyang.

Early on Tuesday, the reclusive state fired an intermediate-range Hwasong-12 over Japan, prompting US President Donald Trump to insist that "all options" were on the table in an implied threat of pre-emptive military action.

The UN Security Council denounced North Korea’s latest missile test, unanimously demanding that Pyongyang halt the programme.

US heavy bombers and stealth jet fighters took part in a joint live fire drill in South Korea on Thursday, intended as a show of force against the North, Seoul said.

Putin said he feared the peninsula was "on the verge of a major conflict" and called for all sides to sign up to a mediation programme drawn up by Moscow and Beijing.

He echoed comments by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov who in a Wednesday telephone call with US counterpart Rex Tillerson "underscored... the need to refrain from any military steps that could have unpredictable consequences."

The Russia-China plan involves a mutual pause in missile tests by North Korea and joint South Korean-US military exercises by Seoul. 

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