Russia and China have agreed a joint position on North Korea designed to defuse tensions around its missile programme and both want Washington to halt deployment of a missile shield in South Korea, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

Key points:

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping in the Kremlin
  • The two nations called the latest test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile “unacceptable”
  • Via Twitter, US President Donald Trump called on China to “perhaps” take action against North Korea

Moscow and Beijing had agreed on the need for a simultaneous freezing of North Korea’s missile and nuclear program and large-scale military exercises by the United States and South Korea, the ministry said in a statement.

The statement was released after President Vladimir Putin held talks with visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Kremlin.

North Korea said it had successfully test-launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) for the first time, which flew a trajectory experts said could allow a weapon to hit the US state of Alaska.

Moscow and Beijing called Tuesday’s test “unacceptable.”

The foreign ministries said that as a “voluntary political decision”, North Korea should declare a “moratorium on testing nuclear devices and test launches of ballistic missiles”.

In turn, the US and South Korea should “accordingly refrain from large-scale joint manoeuvres”, the joint statement added.

They said “the confronting parties” involved should sit down for talks to agree on principles that include a refusal to use force and a pledge to make the Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons.

At the same time, the document emphasised the North’s “sensible concerns” must be respected and urged other nations to create a “peaceful atmosphere of mutual trust” to help launch the talks.

Soon after the launch, US President Donald Trump sent a tweet presumably referring to Mr Kim, that questioned whether “this guy [had] anything better to do with his life”.

Mr Trump went on to suggest China could “perhaps” take action against North Korea “and end this nonsense once and for all!”

The White House said Mr Trump had brought up the North Korean missile program during a phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday (local time).

Chinese state media reported that Mr Xi warned Mr Trump that “some negative factors” were hurting US-China relations.

Bishop warns of global and direct threat

Australia condemned the “provocative ballistic tests”, which Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said were in breach of numerous United Nations Security Council resolutions.

“North Korea continues to threaten its neighbours while undermining regional and global security,” Ms Bishop said in a statement.


Ms Bishop reiterated her strong stance and warned of the far-reaching implications of North Korea’s actions this morning.

“It is a serious threat of North Korea to threaten nations further afield than its immediate region,” she told Sky News.

“It is the scale and the pace of the testing and the development of the missile program that makes it a threat not just for South Korea and nations in the region but to the United States and Australia — indeed, to the whole world.”

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also condemned North Korea’s actions, saying he would work alongside world leaders to increase pressure on the regime.

People setting up the Hwasong-14 ICBM before its launch in North Korea.“Japan will work to increase international pressure on North Korea by uniting strongly with the US and South Korea,” Mr Abe said.

“I’m also planning to call on the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, and the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, to play a more constructive role.”

British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson said the international community must work harder on North Korea, and describes Pyongyang’s missile test as an example of the grave danger it poses to neighbouring countries.

“The international community must redouble its efforts to impose a price on this regime, which strains every nerve and sinew to build nuclear weapons and launch illegal missiles, even as the people of North Korea endure starvation and poverty,” Mr Johnson said in an emailed statement.

Reuters |AP


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