Japan, South Korea push Vladimir Putin over Pyongyang sanctions

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Russian President Vladimir Putin again rejected USA calls for new sanctions against North Korea after its sixth and most powerful nuclear test, echoing China's resistance to more punitive measures to pressure Pyongyang into abandoning its atomic and missile programs.

It was clear that Pres. Putin, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and South Korean Pres. Moon were ready to go along with Pres. Trump's proposed coup de main to achieve a sudden breakthrough and resolution with North Korea (a "Nixon to China" moment), but domestic USA political pressures appeared to be making it hard for Pres. Trump to be able to engineer the move, given the build-up of demand in the US for the total removal of all nuclear weapons and ICBMs from North Korea.

"It is more important than anything else to resolve the North's nuclear and missile issues, which are the most urgent and gravest challenges facing this region, at an earliest date", said Moon as the pair met on the sidelines of an economic forum in Vladivostok on Russia's Pacific coast.

President Trump has urged China, which is the North's main trading partner and provides much of its oil supply, to put more pressure on Kim to limit his nuclear programme.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe warned North Korea against continuing its current missile and nuclear weapons development policies.

Putin made the remarks Wednesday after meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Vladivostok, Russia.

South Korea says the USA military has completed placing more launchers on the high-tech US missile-defense system installed in the southeast to better cope against North Korean threats.

It will also "take into account the level of sanctions by the worldwide community, public sentiment, improvement of inter-Korean relations and among others", Lee added.

Putin: Trump is not my bride, I'm not his groom
He called for "all parties" to consider the Russia-China proposal for freezing both the North's testing and the U.S. Russia's exports of crude oil to North Korea were tiny at about 40,000 tonnes a year, Putin said.

Pyongyang also conducted its sixth nuclear test on Sunday, prompting vehement reprimands from neighboring Japan and the United States.

In a salvo of five Twitter messages Sunday, the businessman-turned-president discussed North Korea's nuclear weapon and missile tests.

The leaders of South Korea and Japan have agreed to push for a new U.N. Security Council resolution with the "strongest" sanctions against North Korea, including cutting off all oil supplies to the impoverished country. Energy from the underground explosion was about six times stronger than the last test a year ago, South Korea's weather agency said.

Two THAAD batteries have already been installed.

Outside the presidential office of South Korea, scores of civilians against the deployment of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile interception system gathered on Friday afternoon. The U.S. and South Korea should "immediately stop the deployment process and withdraw relevant equipment", Geng said.

The United States had set aside for now plans to end a US trade agreement with South Korea, a senior administration official said on Wednesday.

In a phone call with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, US President Donald Trump on Wednesday insisted that military action against North Korea was not his "first choice" and pushed for a diplomatic option.

Hong Joon-pyo, the leader of LKP, said his party will continue to seek the redeployment of US tactical nukes in South Korea. But cooperation is extremely hard given the ongoing investigations into Trump's ties to Russian Federation and the USA sanctions for Russia's interference in the 2016 election, which have triggered a tit-for-tat diplomatic battle. But North Korea is just a few inches away from perfecting technologies for ICBMs following its production of nuclear bombs. The Russian leader will meet with Abe later in the day.