VLADIVOSTOK, Russia, Sept 3, 2016 (AFP) – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday urged both sides on the Korean peninsula to calm tensions after meeting South Korean leader Park Geun-hye.
“Obviously we need to avoid any provocations or enflaming the situation,” Putin said at a statement to the press in the far eastern city of Vladivostok.
“It is necessary to lower the level of military confrontation to form the basis for mutual trust among all the countries in the region.”
Park, whose country is a stalwart US ally, said she had agreed with Putin “to further strengthen our strategic contacts aimed at resolving the North Korean nuclear problem.”
North Korea in August test-fired a submarine-launched missile towards Japan, marking what weapons analysts called a clear step forward for its nuclear strike ambitions.
Current UN resolutions prohibit North Korea from any use of ballistic missile technology, but Pyongyang has continued to carry out numerous launches following its fourth nuclear test in January.
South Korea has responded to Pyongyang’s continued launches by agreeing to deploy a sophisticated US anti-missile system — known as THAAD — a move that has seriously strained relations with North Korea’s main diplomatic ally, China.
Russia has also slammed the deployment as destabilising for the recent, with Moscow angered by what it sees as Washington flexing its military muscle.