September 07, 2017 09:19
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday rejected a request by President Moon Jae-in to cut off oil supplies to North Korea.
"Putin said no pressure will make the North give up its nuclear program for its security," Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Yoon Young-chan said. "He said Russia opposes Pyongyang's nuclear weapons development, but worries the oil embargo could make the North Korean people suffer."
The two presidents met on the sidelines of an economic forum in Vladivostok.
"To bring North Korea dialogue, [UN] Security Council sanctions must be made stronger," Moon told Putin according to the spokesman. "Stopping oil supply to North Korea is inevitable. I'm asking for Russia's cooperation."
But Putin claimed Russia exports only around 40,000 tons of crude oil to North Korea annually and rejected sided with China in refusing to cut crude oil supplies to paralyze North Korea's nuclear weapons and missile programs.
Speaking at the recent BRICS summit in China, Putin claimed Moscow's trade with North Korea is already "practically zero."
Moon said both Koreas could achieve economic prosperity if North Korea gives up its nuclear weapons and neighboring countries guarantee the security of the regime, and Putin pledged to look for ways to bring the North back to the negotiating table.
Putin was over half an hour late for the summit. No explanation was offered.
The concluding press conference, however, proceeded in a jovial atmosphere. A diplomatic source said, "For Putin, 34 minutes late is actually not that bad." He has been four hours late for a summit with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and two hours late for a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
After the summit, Putin congratulated Korea's national football team on qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. At Putin's suggestion, the two leaders then went for an unscheduled stroll along the beachfront in the Siberian port city and visited a booth promoting the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com