Moscow and Beijing issued a joint statement on Tuesday calling on North Korea to freeze its nuclear program in exchange for a U.S. and South Korean suspension of military drills, following a successful test of what North Korea claimed was an intercontinental ballistic missile.
The statement was issued after discussions between President’s Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping at the Kremlin. Xi arrived in Moscow on Monday for talks with his Russian counterpart.
“The two parties propose that the DPRK as a voluntary political decision declares a moratorium on testing nuclear explosive devices and ballistic rocket launches, and the U.S. and South Korea refrain from carrying out large-scale joint exercises,” the Chinese and Russian Foreign Ministry statements read.
The statement is similar to a proposal regularly put forward by the Chinese Foreign Ministry during its daily press briefings, but called on the “opposing parties” to sit down for talks to agree on principles governing the use of force, non-aggression, peaceful coexistence and the intention to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.
But it’s unclear if Moscow’s additional weight behind the proposal would be enough to interest Washington, which has historically shown little appetite for any kind of freeze deal.
“I don’t think (the U.S. would be interested), I don’t know why the ROK and U.S. would take that deal,” Daniel Pinkston, a North Korea watcher at Troy University told NK News, adding Washington is more likely to pursue additional sanctions, United Nations resolutions and “try to enhance nonproliferation efforts.”
In their statement, Both Russia and China also condemned the North Korean launch, which followed a lofted trajectory achieving an altitude of over 2800km, according to the DPRK’s state media.
If flattened out, the missile’s trajectory could carry it as far as Alaska, putting the U.S. within the North’s missile range.
Beijing and Moscow also took the opportunity to criticize U.S. and South Korean plans to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System (THAAD).
North Korea’s immediate neighbors are equally opposed to the U.S. made missile defense system as it “seriously damages strategic security interests of regional powers, including Russia and China,” the statement added.
“Russia and China oppose the deployment of such systems and call on the relevant countries to immediately halt and cancel the process of deployment.”
The Russian and Chinese statement was joined by condemnation from Australia, the UK, and Japan, while the North Korean launch comes ahead of the G20 summit set to begin on Friday in Germany.
While not an official part of the agenda, South Korean President Moon Jae-in is expected to use the forum to discuss the DPRK with fellow world leaders, the South’s media reported.
Join the influential community of members who rely on NK News original news and in-depth reporting.
Subscribe to read the remaining 457 words of this article.
Featured Image: The Kremlin by moaksey on 2007-02-22 05:15:19