Putin warns of “global catastrophe” over North Korea missile tests

Vladimir Putin has warned against making military threats against North Korea, saying it could lead to “a global, planetary catastrophe”.

Speaking to journalists this morning at the Brics summit, the Russian President said Pyongyang would not bow down to pressure over sanctions or military threats because what the west did to Iraq and Libya has convinced the country that nuclear deterrence is the only way to ensure its security.

“Ramping up military hysteria in such conditions is senseless, it’s a dead end,” he said. “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.

As I told my colleagues yesterday, they will eat grass but will not stop their program as long as they do not feel safe,” Putin added. “What can restore their security? The restoration of international law.”

His comments stand in marked contrast to US President Donald Trump, who has previously threatened “fire and fury like the world has never seen” if North Korea threatens the US or its allies.

He has also said talking to the country was “not the answer”.

Following Pyongyang’s six missile test, Trump said the US is considering “stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea”.

Around 100 countries currently trade with the rogue state, but around 90 per cent of its trade is with China. If Trump carried out this threat, it could lead to “a global recession and devastation for the global economy,” according to Marianne Schneider-Petsinger, the US geoeconomics fellow at Chatham House.

“Cutting off trade with China would trigger a trade war and a protectionist spiral that would have adverse consequences for the entire world,” she told NBC. “China could also retaliate … it’s unlikely they would just sit on the sidelines.”

Yesterday the US envoy to the United Nations said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was “begging for war”.

Nikki Haley told an emergency meeting of the Security Council in New York that the US did not want a war but its patience was “not unlimited”.

The US will table a new UN resolution shortly to toughen sanctions. Reports suggest another missile test is being readied.

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