Speaking in an interview with a Chinese state broadcaster aired on June 6 ahead of a visit to Beijing, Putin said he hoped that the scheduled meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on June 12 will bring positive results.
He hailed what he called “unprecedented” steps taken by the North prior to the summit — including the suspension of nuclear and missile tests and the demolition of its nuclear test site — as important shows of goodwill.
The Russian leader also praised Trump for what he called a “courageous and mature” decision to meet with Kim.
But he said that Pyongyang will demand “absolute security guarantees” if the United States sticks with its demand that Kim must totally abandon nuclear weapons to obtain relief from sanctions.
“It can’t be otherwise, particularly after the tragic events in Libya,” Putin said, apparently referring to the toppling of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi by Libyan rebels with assistance from NATO forces after Qaddafi agreed to abandon nuclear weapons.
“The North Koreans see them standing before their eyes, so they would naturally demand some guarantees,” Putin said.
Putin’s statement comes after Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov met with Kim last week to discuss his upcoming summit with Trump.
North Korean ministers have also cited the example of Qaddafi in saying Pyongyang will not agree to a complete nuclear disarmament deal like the Libyan one. But U.S. officials have repeatedly insisted that Kim must totally renounce nuclear weapons as part of any deal coming out of the summit.
Based on reporting by AP, dpa, and Reuter