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XIAMEN /China/, September 5. /TASS/. Sanctions will not make North Korea abandon its nuclear program, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.
Answering a question by a TASS correspondent, as to how it could be possible to influence North Korea, the Russian leader pointed to the story of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. "I have held some private conversations with my colleagues here, I don’t think there is a need to hide it, so I will reiterate what I said in private conversations and at official meetings, as everybody should hear it," Putin said. According to him, "it should be clear for any reasonable person." "Everybody remembers what happened to Saddam Hussein. He had abandoned the production of weapons of mass destruction but nevertheless, under the pretext of searching for such weapons, Hussein and his family members were killed during the well-known military operation, even children died - his grandson was shot, if I remember right," Putin noted.
"The country [Iraq] lies in ruins, Saddam Hussein was hanged. Listen, it is a thing that everybody knows and remembers. North Korea knows and remembers it, too," Putin said. "Do you think, some sanctions will make North Korea change its plans to create weapons of mass destruction?" Putin said.
"Russia condemns North Korea’s tests, we believe that them to be provocative," Putin stated. However, in his view, the lessons of Iraq and Libya should be remembered. "North Korea will be the last to forget them," he stressed. The Russian president pointed out that "the use of sanctions in this case is useless and inefficient."
Putin said it is absurd to simultaneously include Moscow on the sanctions list with Pyongyang and then call on Russia to join new restrictions against North Korea.
"Of course, this is at least ridiculous to put us on the one list with North Korea and then ask to help with sanctions exercises against North Korea," Putin said after the BRICS summit. "This is done by people who mistake Austria for Australia, and then go to their president and say: "Let’s persuade Russia to toughen sanctions."
The president said Russia is not going to "be offended, pout its lips and laugh at this." Moscow has a principled stance: "This is not because we were placed on this list with North Korea, although this is silly, this is just ridiculous from the viewpoint of those who did that but this is an absolutely different matter …Sanctions have already approached the line and are completely inefficient," he said.
Putin also mentioned the humanitarian aspects of sanctions. "No matter how we pressured North Korea, the course of North Korea won’t change due to this, and the sufferings of millions of people may be increased by multiple times," he stressed.
Russia’s trade with North Korea is almost "zero," Putin added. Russia’s oil supplies to Pyongyang reach just 40,000 tonnes per quarter, while Russia exports 400 mln tonnes to other countries. The number of North Koreans working in Russia stands at just 30,000.
Putin also said Moscow is ready to cooperate with other countries and discuss details of settling the Korean Peninsula’s issue. He recalled that Russia was one of the authors of the UN Security Council’s resolution on North Korea and is fully committed to it.
Increasing military hysteria over North Korea will lead nowhere, Putin said.
"In the current situation, increasing military hysteria is pointless, it will lead nowhere," the Russian leader said answering a question by a TASS correspondent.
At the same time, Putin said that the world may face a catastrophe if there are no negotiations with North Korea, the Russian president said.
In this connection, he pointed to North Korea’s military capabilities. "North Korea has not only intermediate-range missiles - we all have seen the proof of Seoul having such missiles - and not only nuclear warheads, and we know that they have those. Apart from that, North Korea also has long-range artillery and multiple-launch rocket systems with a range of up to 60 kilometers," Putin said.