Vladimir Putin’s marathon of meetings with world leaders continues as he sat down with South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in. Moon is generally considered a far more peace minded South Korean leader than his disgraced and subsequently impeached predecessor Park Geun-hye.
Speaking beside Moon, Putin said,
“The North Korean nuclear program is a very acute problem, but we must act carefully and pragmatically, and we must keep cool heads”.
Moon praised Russia’s ability to work for peace in Korea and accepted Putin’s invitation to the forthcoming Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok. Moon also said that he looks forward to welcoming Putin and representatives of Russia to South Korea as soon is such a visit can be arranged.
Moon later stated that he is in favour of a diplomatic solution for peace between the two Korean states saying,
“The current situation where there is no contact between the relevant authorities of the South and the North is highly dangerous. I am ready to meet with Chairman Kim Jong Un of North Korea at any time at any place, if the conditions are met and if it will provide an opportunity to transform the tension and confrontation on the Korean Peninsula”.
Moon also met with Chinese President Xi Jinping where the South Korean President signalled that he retains hope in China’s international leadership on the North Korean issue.
Thus far, the biggest obstacle to peace on the Korean peninsula is America’s refusal to halt deliveries of THAAD missile systems to South Korea. Halting deliveries of THAAD is a key condition in the joint Chinese-Russian peace plan which would also requires North Korea to pause its nuclear programme.
Putin earlier spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe about a range of issues including Korea. Putin was delayed in his meeting with Abe due to the meeting with Donald Trump running so long. Putin offered a public apology to the Japanese Prime Minister on behalf of both Russia and the United States for the delay. It was widely applauded as a deeply gentlemanly move from the Russian President.