Russian President Vladimir Putin Warns of Planetary Catastrophe
The Russian president Vladimir Putin has warned that the escalating North Korean crisis could cause a “planetary catastrophe” and huge loss of life.
“Ramping up military hysteria in such conditions is senseless; it’s a dead end,” he told reporters in China, according to the Kremlin-backed broadcaster RT.
“It could lead to a global, planetary catastrophe and a huge loss of human life. There is no other way to solve the North Korean nuclear issue, save that of peaceful dialogue.”
Speaking on the final day of the Brics summit in Xiamen, China, Putin said foreign interventions in Iraq and Libya had convinced North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that he needed nuclear weapons to survive: “They will eat grass but will not stop their program as long as they do not feel safe.”
Putin’s warning came as South Korea refused to rule out redeploying US tactical nuclear weapons on its territory – a move that could seriously harm efforts to ease tensions as signs emerged that Pyongyang was preparing to launch another intercontinental ballistic missile.
Seoul has routinely dismissed the option of basing US nuclear weapons on South Korean soil for the first time since the 1990s, but the country’s defence minister, Song Young-moo, said “all available military options” were being considered to address the growing threat from North Korean missiles.
On Tuesday, South Korean warships conducted live-fire drills at sea, with more exercises planned this week. “If the enemy launches a provocation above water or under water, we will immediately hit back to bury them at sea,” Captain Choi Young-chan, commander of the 13th Maritime Battle Group, said in a statement.
It came hours after Donald Trump and his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, agreed to remove restrictions on the size of Seoul’s missile warheads and approved a deal to sell the nation “many billions of dollars’” worth of US military weapons and equipment.
The defence minister raised the possibility of redeploying US nuclear weapons in the wake of the North’s sixth nuclear test in remarks to the South’s national assembly, according to the Yonhap news agency.
But his remarks were later clarified with spokesman Moon Sang-gyun saying there was “no change” in Seoul’s principle of working towards the complete denuclearisation of the peninsula.
Moon said the minister had simply been stressing the need to “review all available options from the military perspective and find a realistic way forwards”.
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