Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures while speaking to the media at the China National Convention Center yesterday. Pic/AFP
Russian President Vladimir Putin said yesterday that Moscow was opposed to any new countries acquiring nuclear weapons, but that the world should talk to North Korea rather than threaten it.
Putin, speaking in Beijing, said nuclear tests of the type that Pyongyang had been carrying out were unacceptable, but that a peaceful solution to rising tensions on the Korean peninsula was needed.
"I want to confirm that we are categorically against the expansion of the club of nuclear powers, including with the Korean Peninsula and North Korea," said Putin.
"But at the same time, we understand that specifically flagrant violations of international law and incursions into the territory of foreign states, lead to such kinds of arms races," he said.
Putin did not specify which countries, but he has repeatedly criticised the US for military operations in Iraq, Libya and Syria, and accused it of trying to oust legitimate governments.
"In this connection, we need to return to dialogue with North Korea, and stop scaring it and find ways to resolve these problems peacefully," he added.
'Too early to say if I will seek reelection'
Putin said yesterday that it was still too early to say if he would seek reelection in 2018. He was specifically asked if the time had come to answer the question about his possible reelection, and the president said it had not.