Tue, 16 Jul 2019

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that North Korea should be given security guarantees in exchange for steps toward denuclearization, and suggested that Washington is not reciprocating adequately in its dealings with Pyongyang.

Speaking at an economic forum in the Russian port city of Vladivostok on September 12, Putin said that North Korea had taken positive steps and was now waiting for a response.

'If North Korea does something towards denuclearization, it expects reciprocal steps and not endless demands for full disarmament,' Putin said.

Putin, who has met this week with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon, said that 'international' guarantees would be appropriate in addition to what Washington can offer.

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un signed a vaguely worded document on denuclearization at their June 12 summit in Singapore, after which the U.S. president said that he had 'largely solved' the crisis over Pyongyang's nuclear program and that the North was no longer a nuclear threat.

But negotiations have stalled since and Washington has expressed disappointment with Pyongyang's lack of progress toward denuclearization, though Trump praised North Korea for not displaying its intercontinental ballistic missiles at a military parade it staged on September 9.

Putin, who has repeatedly accused Trump's domestic opponents and others in the U.S. political establishment of seeking to undermine the president, praised Trump for meeting with Kim. 'I would not be skeptical or ironic if I say I truly believe that President Trump's approach is innovative. He has demonstrated political courage and boldness,' he said.

He also said Kim was welcome to visit Russia at any time convenient for him.

Putin's comments came days after the Kremlin said it had sent Kim a letter of invitation to visit Russia.

Meanwhile, the White House said on September 10 that Trump had recently received a 'warm, very positive letter' letter from the North Korean leader asking for a second meeting.

With reporting by AFP, Reuters, and The Washington Post

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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