Russian President Vladimir Putin says the United States should give North Korea strong security ensures in the event that it expects to wrap everything up with Pyongyang, not as much as seven days before US President Donald Trump will prone to meet with the North’s pioneer Kim Jong-un.
In an interview with a Chinese state broadcaster aired on Wednesday, the Russian leader praised Kim’s “unprecedented” steps toward resolving tensions on the Korean Peninsula, including the suspension of nuclear and ballistic missile tests and the demolition of the country’s sole known nuclear test site, as significant displays of goodwill.
Putin also hailed Trump for his “courageous and mature” decision to meet with Kim; however, he stressed that Pyongyang would want to receive “absolute security guarantees” to discard its nuclear program.
“It can’t be otherwise, particularly after the tragic events in Libya and Iraq,” Putin said. “The North Koreans see them standing before their eyes, so they would naturally demand some guarantees.”
There was no comment from Pyongyang on Putin’s remarks.
Both Trump and his national security adviser, John Bolton, have previously referred to Libya while speaking of North Korea.
In December 2003, the then-Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi reached an agreement with the US to surrender Libya’s nuclear weapons program in return for the lifting of US sanctions. But the Gaddafi regime was overthrown some eight years later by armed militants receiving aerial cover from NATO, including the US.
Gaddafi was injured when his convoy was tracked and targeted by NATO warplanes. Militants, tipped off by the Western military alliance, soon arrived, brutally killing the Libyan ruler.
Bolton has said previously that North Korea could strike a deal with the US using the “Libya model.” While he meant that Pyongyang could receive sanctions relief in return for ending its nuclear program, he evoked Gaddafi’s ultimate fate.
Trump, too, formerly suggested that the North Korean government could be “decimated” Libyan-style if it did not make a deal with the US. The White House, however, later downplayed the Libya comments.
In early 2003, the US, backed by the UK, also invaded Iraq under the pretext that the regime of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. No such weapons, however, were ever found in Iraq.
The invasion plunged Iraq into chaos, resulting in years of deadly violence and the rise of terrorist groups like Daesh, while leaving more than one million Iraqis dead.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Putin expressed hope that the landmark meeting between Trump and Kim would bring positive results, but voiced regret that the US and South Korea still continued their controversial military drills near North Korea despite Pyongyang’s acts of goodwill.
Trump and Kim are likely to meet at the Capella Hotel in Sentosa, an island resort off Singapore’s southern coast, on June 12.
Ahead of that meeting, North Korean and Russian foreign ministers exchanged visits to one another’s respective counties.
North Korea is currently under harsh sanctions imposed by the UN and the US for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
It has already rejected an initial US demand to end its nuclear program in one stage.
Singapore’s FM travels to North Korea
Meanwhile, Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan was set to arrive in North Korea on Thursday, a few days after visiting Washington.
According to a statement by Singapore’s government, Balakrishnan will meet his North Korean counterpart, Ri Yong-ho, and the president of the Supreme People’s Assembly and ceremonial head of state, Kim Yong-nam.
The original announcement of the summit between Trump and Kim came after a thaw began first between Pyongyang and Seoul and then between North Korea and the US.