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Putin says sanctions, pressure alone won't resolve North Korea crisis

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Russian President Vladimir Putin (third from right) listens to South Korean President Moon Jae-in (fifth from left) during their meeting at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok on Wednesday.

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07th-Sep-2017       
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Reuters, Vladivostok :
Resolving the North Korean nuclear crisis is impossible with sanctions and pressure alone, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday after meeting his South Korean counterpart, adding that the impact of cutting oil would be worrying.utin met South Korea's Moon Jae-in on the sidelines of an economic summit in the eastern Russian city of Vladivostok amid mounting international concern that their neighbor plans more weapons tests, possibly a long-range missile launch ahead of a weekend anniversary.
Putin denounced North Korea's sixth and largest nuclear bomb test on Sunday, saying Russia did not recognize its nuclear status.
"Pyongyang's missile and nuclear program is a crude violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions, undermines the non-proliferation regime and creates a threat to the security of northeastern Asia," Putin said at a joint news conference.
"At the same time, it is clear that it is impossible to resolve the problem of the Korean peninsula only by sanctions and pressure," he said.
No headway could be made without political and diplomatic tools, Putin said, later telling the TASS news agency that Russian and North Korean delegations might meet at the Vladivostok forum.
Moon, who came to power this year advocating a policy of pursuing engagement with North Korea, has come under increasing pressure to take a harder line.
He has asked the United Nations to consider tough new sanctions after North Korea's latest nuclear test.
Diplomats say the U.N. Security Council could consider banning North Korean textile exports, barring its airline or stopping supplies of oil to the government and military.
Other measures could include preventing North Koreans from working abroad and putting top officials on a blacklist aimed at imposing asset freezes and travel bans.
"I ask Russia to actively cooperate as this time it is inevitable that North Korea's oil supply should be cut at the least," Moon told Putin, according to a readout from a South Korean official.
Putin said North Korea would not give up its nuclear program no matter how tough the sanctions.
"We too, are against North Korea developing its nuclear capabilities and condemn it, but it is worrying cutting the oil pipeline will harm the regular people, like in hospitals," Putin said, according to the South Korean presidential official.
Russia's exports of crude oil to North Korea were tiny at about 40,000 tonnes a year, Putin said. By comparison, China provides it with about 520,000 tonnes of crude a year, according to industry sources.
Last year, China shipped just over 96,000 tonnes of gasoline and almost 45,000 tonnes of diesel to North Korea, where it is used across the economy, from fishermen and farmers to truckers and the military.
Sanctions have done little to stop North Korea boosting its nuclear and missile capacity as it faces off with U.S. President Donald Trump, who has vowed to stop it from being able to hit the U.S. mainland with a nuclear weapon.

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