Japan, South Korea push Putin over Pyongyang sanctions

President Donald Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit in July

Moscow/Xiamen: Russian President Vladimir Putin rejected United States calls for new sanctions against North Korea, criticizing punitive measures as "useless and ineffective" in pressuring Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear and missile programs.

The Moon-Putin summit came amid growing concerns over North Korea's apparently evolving nuclear and missile capabilities.

The announcement and North Korea's claim that it could mount the warhead on a missile dramatically upped the stakes in Pyongyang's standoff with the worldwide community over its banned weapons programmes.

Putin agreed that the United Nations should lead sanctions, but said, "The worldwide community should not become carried away by emotions and drive the North into a blind alley".

Such measures should include completely cutting off the oil supply to the impoverished North, Moon has said.

"We have also agreed to develop cooperation in the energy sector".

But Moon and Putin showed widely different views about how to deal with North Korea.

Russian's Energy Minister Alexander Novak said that in the event that sanctions on North Korea were ramped up, his country would be relatively unaffected as Russia "only supply oil products there (and) the volumes are negligible, close to zero". The Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang also provides consular services for the United States, Australia and Canada.

The Trump administration says the United Nations needs to tighten economic sanctions to pressure North Korea to change its behavior and start talking.

The timing of the criticism could also prove important as Trump attempts to build global support for North Korea sanctions and threatened to cut trade ties with any country that does business with Pyongyang.

After North Korea carried out a sixth nuclear test on September 3, the leaders of China and Russian Federation reaffirmed their support for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Sweden has urged its citizens to refrain from unnecessary trips to North Korea following the country's sixth and most powerful nuclear test to date.

Putin also said he won't hit back "for the time being" to the closing of the consulate, though he clarified that 155 of 455 Russian diplomats working in the US were actually assigned to duties at the United Nations.

DOZENS of South Korean protesters were injured in clashes with police yesterday over the deployment of more USA anti-ballistic missile launchers.

At the start of his meeting with Moon, the Russian president said he looked forward to discussing various issues, including the North Korean nuclear and missile issues that "we think are concerning".

The Russian leader added: "Whipping up military hysteria makes absolutely no sense in this situation".

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