Putin Praises Trump for Progress With North Korea

July 16, 2018 Updated: October 5, 2018

Russian President Vladimir Putin complimented U.S. President Donald Trump on advancing the denuclearization of North Korea.

“We’re glad that the Korean Peninsula issue is starting to get resolved. To a great extent it was possible thanks to the personal engagement of President Trump, who opted for dialog instead of confrontation,” Putin said during a joint press conference after his first one-on-one summit with Trump.

Trump said Putin agreed to help with North Korea.

“After today, I am very sure that President Putin and Russia want very much to end that problem, [are] going to work with us, and I appreciate that commitment,” he said.

Trump met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore on June 12—the first-ever meeting between leaders of the two countries. They signed a joint statement reaffirming North Korea’s commitment to giving up nuclear weapons. Trump agreed to provide “security guarantees” to North Korea, and both countries agreed to renew relations.

Ahead of the summit, North Korea destroyed its nuclear testing site and released its last three American hostages. After the summit, North Korea also agreed to return the remains of American soldiers killed in the Korean War.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Trump should win a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to resolve the North Korean crisis.

Trump faced an escalating threat from North Korea early in his presidency, as Kim’s regime tested several missiles purportedly capable of reaching the United States and detonated what Pyongyang said was a hydrogen bomb.

Trump responded with threats of military action and a corresponding relocation of firepower to the Korean peninsula. Simultaneously, the president spearheaded an unprecedented round of sanctions on the regime, securing a crucial buy-in from China.

Earlier this month, U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo finished a two-day visit to the communist country on July 7. Right after his visit, an unnamed North Korean official said in a statement that Washington’s attitude and stance were “regrettable” and that the United States “came up only with its unilateral and gangster-like demand for denuclearization.”

Trump suggested the statement was written under pressure from China.

Kim asked China to help ease international sanctions against North Korea during his most recent visit to Beijing in mid-June, according to Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun.

Trump, who has criticized China for trade imbalances and unfair practices, imposed tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports that went into effect on July 6. China responded with tariffs worth the same amount on U.S. imports. The United States on July 10 followed with the announcement of tariffs on an additional $200 billion worth of imports.

China issued a statement on July 11 saying it will retaliate, but the value of goods China imported from the United States in 2016 was just over half that amount, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

The Trump administration has continually said it intends to uphold strict sanctions on North Korea until denuclearization is fully achieved.

This month, Trump urged Beijing to continue sanctions efforts, noting that the border between China and North Korea was “getting a little weaker now.”

Reports also emerged that the North has completed an underground tunnel linking North Korea’s military materials factories with China, allowing the regime to secretly move intercontinental ballistic missiles, while also developing a new submarine capable of launching nuclear-armed ballistic missiles.

On July 12, Trump published a letter from Kim praising progress in relations between the two countries and bringing up the possibility of another meeting between the two heads of state.

“I firmly believe that the strong will, sincere efforts, and unique approach of myself and Your Excellency Mr. President aimed at opening up a new future between the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] and the U.S. will surely come to fruition,” the letter stated.

Epoch Times staff member Annie Wu contributed to this report.

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