Putin calls for talks with N. Korea, slams ‘military hysteria’

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday called for talks with North Korea, warning against “military hysteria.”

Putin said during a news conference in China that it was important that all parties including North Korea not face “threats of annihilation” and “step on the path of cooperation.”

“Whipping up military hysteria makes absolutely no sense in this situation,” Putin said. “This is a road to nowhere.”

Pyongnang’s detonation of a hydrogen bomb on Sunday marked its most powerful nuclear test to date.

Putin said Russia saw the test as “provocative.” But he stopped short of expressing support for imposing more UN sanctions on North Korea, and said Russia viewed them as “useless and ineffective.”

Putin said it was “ridiculous” that the United States first slapped Russia with sanctions carried in the same bill that penalized North Korea, and “then asked us to help impose sanctions on North Korea.”

Japanese lawmakers were demanding tougher UN sanctions on North Korea. A resolution by Japan’s parliamentary committee condemned the nuclear test, and urged the Japanese government to take leadership in pushing for tougher punishment against Pyongyang, as measures are being discussed at the United Nations Security Council.

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono told lawmakers it was time to increase pressure on North Korea and eliminate loopholes that allow some countries to continue trading with Pyongyang.

On Sunday US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned that while his country is not looking “to the total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea…we have many options to do so.”

US monitors measured a powerful 6.3-magnitude earthquake near the North’s main testing site, felt as far as parts of China, that was apparently caused by the blast, with an aftershock possibly caused by the collapse of a tunnel at the site.

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