Moscow and Beijing have agreed that North Korea should freeze its nuclear and missile programs, while the US and South Korea should abstain from holding war games in the region, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.
“We’ve agreed to promote our joint initiative, based on Russian step-by-step Korean settlement plan and Chinese ideas to simultaneously freeze North Korean nuclear and missile activities, and US and South Korean joint military drills,” Putin said at a press conference after meeting with China’s leader, Xi Jinping, in Moscow.
“We believe that the outer world is turbulent, local conflicts are emerging constantly, such issues as the Korean peninsula problem, Syrian question, remain very complex,” Xi Jinping said.
Russia’s president stressed that the two countries have either the same, or very close positions on many international issues.
“We intend to further develop our foreign policy coordination,” Putin said.
Moscow and Beijing stressed the importance of taking North Korea’s concerns over its safety into consideration, calling them “justified.”
“The two sides stress that justified North Korean concerns should be respected,” a joint statement by Russia’s and China’s foreign ministers reads. “Other countries should make certain moves to resume the negotiations, creating a peaceful disposition and mutual trust.”
“A possibility of the use of military measures to solve the problems of the Korean Peninsula must be ruled out,” the joint statement stressed.
While condemning Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile tests as violating UN Security Council resolutions, Moscow and Beijing urged the United States to immediately halt its deployment of THAAD anti-missile systems to South Korea.
“The sides agree that the deployment of THAAD anti-missile systems to Northeast Asia gravely damages strategic safety interests of regional powers, including Russia and China and do not contribute to the de-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, as well as towards establishing peace and stability in the region,” the statement reads.
“Russia and China oppose the deployment of the said systems and call on the countries involved to immediately halt and cancel the process of their deployment.”
Russia and China’s calls for de-escalation and negotiation are clearly a step into right direction if the ongoing Korean crisis is to be untangled, Asia-Pacific defense consultant Jack Midgley believes.
“North Korea now has at least a limited ballistic missile capability; they have at least a limited nuclear weapons capability. The question is: how will the world deal with the emergence of this new set of facts,” Midgley said, adding “the experience of the last 60 years is very consistent there – it’s that the only way forward that actually works is to bring the parties together and to negotiate.”