Putin, Moon urge swift end to North Korea crisis

Vladivostok (Russia) (AFP) –


Russian President Vladimir Putin and South Korean President Moon Jae-In agreed Wednesday that resolving the North Korea crisis as soon as possible was the top priority.

"It is more important than anything else to resolve the North's nuclear and missile issues, which are the most urgent and gravest challenges facing this region, at an earliest date," said Moon as the pair met on the sidelines of an economic forum in Vladivostok on Russia's Pacific coast.

"I and President Putin also agreed that the missile development pursued by North Korea is a wrong path and it is an urgent task to ease tension on the Korean peninsula," he told reporters after the talks.

And Putin stressed the need for a political solution, saying further sanctions and pressure would not solve the problem.

"Today, as never before, everyone needs to show composure and avoid steps that lead to an escalation of tensions," he said.

"It would be extremely difficult to advance the situation at hand without political and diplomatic instruments," he said.

"It is not worth giving in to emotions and driving North Korea into a corner."

World powers are scrambling to respond to the latest advance in North Korea's rogue nuclear weapons programme, which has sent global tensions soaring.

Russia has rebuffed US calls for new UN sanctions while Washington has promised its allies advanced weaponry.

On Tuesday, Putin warned of a global catastrophe unless a diplomatic solution was reached over North Korea, rejecting US calls for more sanctions as "useless" widening the split between major powers over how to rein in Pyongyang.