Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has addressed journalists at the BRICS conference in Xiamen China where he offered harsh words about the current state of political culture in the United States and warned of the dangers which are implicit in a bellicose approach to North Korea.By contrast, Vladimir Putin praised China’s hosting of the BRICS summit and spoke warmly of the atmosphere at the Xiamen based summit which closes today.
After strongly condemning North Korea’s recent nuclear test, the Russian President explained that after seeing how Iraq and Libya were unilaterally decimated by US forces, North Korea has determined that a nuclear deterrent is the only thing which will spare Pyongyang a similarly grim fate.
Rather than play games of nuclear chicken Putin warned that a dialogue based approach to de-escalation on the Korean peninsula is the only rational approach. He stated,
“Ramping up military hysteria in such conditions is senseless; it’s a dead end. It could lead to a global, planetary catastrophe and a huge loss of human life. There is no other way to solve the North Korean nuclear issue, save that of peaceful dialogue”.
“It is necessary to push the issue to a dialogue between all interested parties. All participants in this process, including North Korea, should not have any of these considerations that are associated with the threat of destruction, but, on the contrary, all parties to the conflict should get on the path of cooperation”.
Putin echoed the previous words of his Foreign Ministery Sergey Lavrov who cautioned that “starving” North Korea with sanctions will only create a humanitarian disaster on top of a tense military stand-off. Putin said,
“As I told my colleagues yesterday, they (North Koreans) will eat grass but will not stop their program as long as they do not feel safe. What can restore their security? The restoration of international law“.
Turning to Donald Trump’s Tweet threatening to instigate US trade embargoes against any nation which has any trade with North Korea, Putin joined China in condemning the ridiculous proposal.
“Of course, it is ridiculous to put us on one sanctions list with North Korea and then to ask to help them with sanctions exercises against North Korea”.
Putin further explained that while Russia does trade with North Korea, the turnover if “virtually zero”. Putin proceeded to explain that while many countries, including US allies trade with North Korea, no country in the world is making any significant amounts of money from such trade.
Putin again affirmed that North Korea should not have to fear for its survival and security prior to the commencement of talks but rater, all parties should enter discussions with an aim for peace between nations.
The Russian President re-emphasised,
“It is necessary to take steps to be engaged in a dialogue with all the concerned parties. It is necessary that all the participants of the process, including North Korea would not have any fears related to the threat of the devastation, but instead all the parties to the conflict should take the path of cooperation.
Warmongering would not bring any positive result in such conditions. It could result in a global catastrophe and to a huge number of casualties“.
Turning to the increasingly bizarre US actions which saw Russian diplomats and officials kicked out of their properties in Washington D.C., New York and San Francisco, Putin said that Russia plans to sue the United States over this actions. As I explained in The Duran, the Russian Federation will have to sue the US Federal Government in US courts as under George W. Bush, the US withdrew from provisions allowing the International Court of Justice to hear cases involving violations of the Vienna Conventions to which the US is a party.
To this end, Putin stated,
“First of all, I will instruct the Foreign Ministry to go to court, we’ll see how effectively the vaunted American judicial system works”.
Putin discussed further direct retaliatory measures against the US in the following way,
“We have agreed with our partners that there should be parity of the number of diplomatic staff in Russia and the United States. There were some 1,300 diplomats from the US; we had 455. We corrected this.
But among those 455 diplomatic staff working in the United States there are 155 people working at the United Nations. Strictly speaking, they are not part of the diplomatic corps accredited by the US State Department. So true parity would be the US having not 455 diplomats in Russia, but 155 fewer”.
When it comes to the US political culture and wider American political attitudes, Putin spoke for most of the world when he slammed the US, saying,
“It is difficult to have a dialogue with people who confuse Austria with Australia. You can do nothing about it. That seems to be the level of political culture of a certain part of the American establishment.
….the American nation, the American people, America is really a great country, a great nation… of such people with such a low level of political culture”.
While Vladimir Putin said he would hope for a future restoration of relations with Donald Trump, he clearly does not see this as something which can happen in the immediate future.
The Russian President also confirmed he has accepted an invitation to Egypt by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi who has been attending the BRICS summit as a representative from an observer state. As one of the major Muslim majority countries at the summit, Russia and Egypt offered a joint statement on the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar.
The Russian President stated,
“The press service had to release the relevant statement in regards to the joint [Russian-Egyptian] opinion on the developments in Myanmar. We oppose any violence and call on the country’s authorities to take the situation under control”.
President Vladimir Putin’s full press conference can be viewed below