VLADIVOSTOK, Russia (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin urged countries on Saturday to show caution when dealing with North Korea and to avoid any actions that might further enflame tensions with Pyongyang.
Speaking at a business forum in Russia’s Pacific port of Vladivostok attended by South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, Putin said Moscow favored bringing North Korea back to international negotiations over its nuclear program.
Putin also urged Pyongyang to adhere to agreements backed by the United Nations, but he added: “I think that any actions that would provoke further escalation (of tensions) are counter-productive.”
Earlier Park called on Russia and other major global players to increase pressure on North Korea to abandon its nuclear program, saying this could open the road for cooperation with Pyongyang.
“In order for Pyongyang to take the decision to abandon its nuclear program, it is important to give it a strong unified message,” Park told the forum in Vladivostok.
Concerns about the threat posed by North Korea have spiraled since it conducted its fourth nuclear explosion in January and followed it up with a series of missile tests despite severe United Nations sanctions, which Pyongyang rejects as an infringement of its sovereignty.
In June North Korea test-fired what appeared to be two mobile Musudan rockets, one of which climbed to 1,000 km (600 miles), or enough to fly more than 3,000 km (1,800 miles) down range.
On Aug. 24 Pyongyang also fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) toward Japan that traveled 500 km (311 miles).
“If North Korea abandons its nuclear program and chooses the path to openness, we, together with the international community, will be ready to actively support it,” Park said.
Writing in Moscow by Lidia Kelly; Editing by Gareth Jones