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Putin Says Threat Of 'Large-Scale Conflict' Looms Over Korean Peninsula

Russian President Vladimir Putin (file photo)
Russian President Vladimir Putin (file photo)

Russian President Vladimir Putin says that the standoff over North Korea's nuclear and missile programs is "on the verge of a large-scale conflict."

In an article published on the Kremlin’s website on September 1, Putin obliquely criticized U.S. warnings of potential military action and said stepping up the pressure on Pyongyang won't solve the problem.

The remarks came after North Korea fired a missile over Japan last week, adding to persistent tension over the Korean Peninsula.

Putin said the crisis can only be solved through "direct dialogue between all concerned parties, without preconditions."

"Provocations, pressure, and bellicose, offensive rhetoric is a road to nowhere," he wrote.

Pyongyang has been working to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the United States.

Two days after North Korea fired an intermediate-range missile over Japan, U.S. President Donald Trump said on August 28 that "all options" were on the table in an implied threat of preemptive military action.

Russia has frequently expressed concern about North Korea's violations of UN Security Council resolution restricting its nuclear and missile activities.

But Moscow has also repeatedly assigned much of the blame for the tension to the United States, saying U.S.-South Korean military drills are provocative and that imposing further sanctions on Pyongyang would be counterproductive.

Putin said a roadmap drawn up by Russia and China -- which have relatively warm ties with Pyongyang and wield influence as permanent members of the UN Security Council -- was a way to gradually reduce the tensions.

The roadmap involves a mutual pause in missile tests by North Korea and U.S.-South Korean military exercises, which Pyongyang says it sees as preparations for invasion.

With reporting by Reuters and AFP
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