World

Moon, Putin discuss 'unpredictable' North

South Korean leader & Russian supremo share concerns about North Korea

VLADIVOSTOK South Korean President Moon Jae In told Russian leader Vladimir Putin yesterday that the situation on the Korean Peninsula could become unpredictable if Pyongyang did not halt its "provocative actions" after its latest nuclear test.

Mr Putin and Mr Moon met on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in the Russian city of Vladivostok amid mounting concerns that their shared neighbour is planning more tests, possibly a long-range missile launch ahead of a key anniversary.

Mr Moon, who came to power earlier this year advocating a policy of pursuing engagement with Pyongyang, has come under increasing pressure to take a harder line on North Korea.

TOUGHER

He said on Tuesday that the United Nations should consider tough new sanctions on the North, including halting oil shipments.

Russia has reacted coolly to the prospect of more sanctions, with Mr Putin saying on Tuesday that it was a "road to nowhere".

Sanctions have so far done little to stop North Korea from boosting its nuclear and missile capacity as it faces off with US President Donald Trump, who has vowed to stop Pyongyang from being able to hit the US mainland with a nuclear weapon.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who will discuss North Korea with Mr Moon and Mr Putin, said yesterday he wanted the North to understand that it has "no bright future" if it continues on its current path.

South Korea's Unification Ministry yesterday said it was still expecting more activity from the North.

On Tuesday, Mr Han Tae Song, Pyongyang's ambassador to the UN in Geneva, had told a disarmament conference: "The recent self-defence measures by my country, Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), are a gift package addressed to none other than the US.

"The US will receive more 'gift packages'... as long as it relies on reckless provocations and futile attempts to put pressure on the DPRK."

Asian stocks yesterday fell accordingly after Wall Street's slide overnight, while the dollar was on the defensive with tensions in the Korean Peninsula showing few signs of abating.

- REUTERS

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