Russian leader: US guarantees won't prompt N Korea to de-nuclearise
VLADIVOSTOK, RUSSIA: Russian President Vladimir Putin said after holding talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un yesterday that he thought US security guarantees would probably not be enough to persuade Pyongyang to shut its nuclear programme.
Mr Putin and Mr Kim held a day of talks on an island off the Russian city of Vladivostok two months after Mr Kim's summit with US President Donald Trump ended in disagreement, cooling hopes of a breakthrough in the decades-old nuclear row.
Mr Putin, keen to use his summit with Mr Kim to burnish Russia's diplomatic credentials as a global player, said he believed any US guarantees might need to be supported by the other nations involved in previous six-way talks on the nuclear issue.
That would mean including Russia, China, Japan and South Korea as well as the US and North Korea, in a long-standing format that had been sidelined by unilateral American efforts to broker a deal.
"...I'm deeply convinced that if we get to a situation when some kind of security guarantees are needed from one party, in this case for North Korea, that it won't be possible to get by without international guarantees.
"It's unlikely that any agreements between two countries will be enough."
Such guarantees would have to be international, legally-binding, and vouch for North Korea's sovereignty, said Mr Putin.
The first session between Mr Putin and Mr Kim, comprising one-on-one talks with a few aides present, lasted twice as long as the 50 minutes allocated in the schedule.
Mr Putin described Mr Kim as "quite open" and as "thoughtful" and"interesting". He said he thought a deal on Pyongyang's nuclear programme was possible and that the way to get there was to move forward step-by-step in order to build trust.
Mr Putin promised to brief the Chinese and US leadership about his talks. - REUTERS
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