Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Thursday that they were seeking de-escalation in the Korean conflict, admitting that the situation had seriously deteriorated over the past weeks.
Putin urged all sides of the crisis to refrain from any provocation that could further deteriorate the situation. He also said the surge in hostilities had made it necessary for all stakeholders to embark on renewed efforts to find a solution to the conflict.
“We are urging all the states involved in regional affairs to refrain from military rhetoric and seek a calm and constructive dialogue,” Putin said, calling for the quickest restart of six-party negotiations which collapsed in 2009.
Abe, for his part, said he and the Russian leader had urged North Korea to comply with the United Nations resolutions banning it from developing nuclear weapons.
“President Putin and I have agreed that Japan and Russia will cooperate and call on North Korea to fully comply with the UN Security Council resolutions and refrain from further provocations,” said Abe.
The joint statement comes amid heightened tensions in the Korean Peninsula in the wake of preparatory work for the deployment of an advanced US missile system in South Korea in a declared bid to counter potential missile strikes from the North.
North Korea, already under a raft of sanctions for its missile and nuclear programs, says it is maintaining the nuclear program as deterrence against the US. It has so far conducted five confirmed nuclear tests and numerous missile test-launches, and it is believed to be preparing for a sixth nuclear weapons test.
The US, which has maintained a policy of sanctions against the North over the past years, has warned of a military action in recent weeks. North Korea says such an action would be met with a harsh response.