Putin to use US clout on nukes

Top News | AP, AFP, Reuters Apr 26, 2019
<p>Russian President Vladimir Putin said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un confirmed during their first summit yesterday he is willing to give up his nuclear weapons -but only if he gets an ironclad guarantee of security beforehand.</p><p>Putin said the security guarantees should be underwritten by multiple countries, hinting at an arrangement like the six-nation talks Russia participated in until their collapse in 2009.</p><p>Putin added that Kim encouraged him to explain the nuances of Pyongyang&#39;s position to US President Donald Trump.</p><p>&quot;I will talk about it tomorrow with the leadership of China,&quot; Putin said before heading to Beijing on a two-day visit. &quot;And we will just as openly discuss this issue with the US leadership. There are no secrets. Russia&#39;s position always has been transparent. There are no plots of any kind.&quot;</p><p>He took a veiled swipe at Washington for trying to strong-arm the North. &quot;We need to return to a state where international law, not the law of the strongest, determines the situation in the world.&quot;</p><p>Putin&#39;s remarks after the one-day summit just off the Pacific port city of Vladivostok reflect Kim&#39;s growing frustration with US efforts to maintain &quot;maximum pressure&quot; until the North commits to denuclearization.</p><p>Pyongyang has all along contended it needs a nuclear arsenal amid what it sees as US hostility and wants concrete reassurances - including the removal of the US nuclear threat as an integral part of the denuclearization of the entire peninsula.</p><p>Along with political support, Kim was believed to be looking for economic support and possibly even a way around sanctions that will force more than 10,000 North Korean laborers in Russia, a major source of income, to leave by the end of the year.</p><p>Russia would like to gain broader access to the North&#39;s mineral resources, including rare metals. Pyongyang covets Russia&#39;s electricity supplies and investment to modernize its dilapidated Soviet-built plants, railways and other infrastructure.</p><p>The meeting follows four Kim summits with President Xi Jinping, three with South Korean President Moon Jae In and two with Trump. Moon said yesterday day he&#39;ll try to hold a fourth summit with Kim and facilitate the resumption of US-North Korea talks.</p><p>Since his latest talks with Trump in Hanoi ended without any sign of progress, the North has expressed anger with what it calls an excessively hard-line US position.</p><p>It has demanded Secretary of State Mike Pompeo be removed from talks, criticized national security adviser John Bolton and possibly firing one of its main negotiators.</p><p>Kim comported himself formally yesterday - creating a scene reminiscent of old Soviet-style meetings and a sharp contrast with his more cordial summits with Moon and, at times, even Trump.</p><p>Kim&#39;s first session with Putin with just a few aides present lasted twice as long as the 50 minutes allocated in the schedule.</p><p>A second session, involving larger delegations, ended with no statements.</p><p>The two leaders then attended a gala dinner where they Russian artistes perform numbers like the Russian classic Black Eyes and Korea&#39;s The Great Commander.</p><p>Kim arrived in Vladivostok Wednesday aboard his armored train and, in an interview with Russian television, evoked his father&#39;s &quot;great love for Russia.&quot; The late Kim Jong Il made three trips to Russia, the last in 2011. Moscow was part of six-nation talks on the North Korean standoff that fell apart after Pyongyang&#39;s withdrawal in 2009. Kim was expected to return to Pyongyang on Friday.</p>

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May 2019