Vladimir Putin warns against 'military hysteria' over North Korea crisis

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Vladimir Putin warned today against “military hysteria” after America accused North Korea of begging for war.

The Russian president stressed that the threat of a colossal armed attack by the US and its allies to thwart Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions could lead to “global catastrophe”.

Mr Putin condemned North Korea’s latest bomb test as a “provocation” but argued that it would rather “eat grass” than abandon its nuclear programme.

“Ramping up military hysteria will lead to nothing good. It could lead to a global catastrophe,” he added.

“There’s no other path apart from a peaceful one.”

He warned that it was vital that all parties engulfed by the crisis, including North Korea, should not face “threats of annihilation” and must “step on the path of cooperation”.

The Russian leader spoke out after South Korea said an agreement with the US to scrap a weight limit on its warheads would help it respond to the threat from North Korean which conducted its sixth and largest nuclear test two days ago.

It claimed to have tested a hydrogen bomb.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson this morning summoned the North Korean ambassador in London for a dressing down over the latest provocative military move.

Washington is pushing the idea of requiring all countries to cut economic links with North Korea to try to strong-arm Pyongyang into changing its behaviour.

But the move is meeting resistance in Beijing and Moscow which are sceptical about whether tougher sanctions will impact on the North Korean regime.

China has ruled out military force as an option to resolve the North Korea crisis.

However, South Korean foreign minister Kang Kyung-wha said she feels her Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, is open to additional sanctions on North Korea after the two held talks.

“I cannot tell you exact details as the minister asked me not to disclose the content of our discussion but I could sense that China could be open to more sanctions,” Ms Kang said.

The South today carried out further live-fire naval exercises, following missile drills yesterday that simulated the targeting of the Punggye-ri nuclear site where North Korea carried out its bomb test.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned North Korea’s latest nuclear test as a “flagrant violation” of international conventions, but also said there can only be a “diplomatic and peaceful solution” of the crisis. 

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