Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called Thursday for the world to put the “greatest possible pressure” on North Korea to abandon its nuclear missile programme.
However Russian President Vladimir Putin said Pyongyang couldn’t be intimidated and brushed off a renewed call for tighter sanctions by his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-In as the three were in the Russian port city of Vladivostok for an economic forum.
“The international community must unite in applying the greatest possible pressure on North Korea,” Abe said just four days after Pyongyang staged its sixth and most powerful nuclear test to date, which it described as a “perfect success”.
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“We must make North Korea immediately and fully comply with all relevant UN Security Council resolutions and abandon all its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner,” Abe insisted.
“North Korea is escalating an overt challenge to the peace, prosperity, law and order of the region and indeed the entire world.”
Meanwhile the South Korean president said that “perhaps the time has come for stronger sanctions” on Pyongyang.
South Korea has pushed for moves to cut off Pyongyang’s key supplies of fuel oil, but Russia dismissed such a call, while China has also reluctant to take measures that could trigger instability or a refugee exodus on its frontier.
On Wednesday, Washington demanded an oil embargo on Pyongyang and a freeze on the foreign assets of its leader Kim Jong-Un in a dramatic bid to force an end to the perilous nuclear stand-off.
However, Putin once again said that imposing tighter sanctions was not the way forward.
“It is impossible to intimidate them,” said the Russian leader.
“But I am convinced that we can avoid a large-scale conflict involving weapons of mass destruction and that we can resolve the problem by diplomatic means,” said Putin.
“I hope that common sense prevails and the quicker that happens, the better.”