Putin condemns North Korea's 'provocative' nuclear test

Russian president Vladimir Putin has condemned North Korea's latest nuclear test as "provocative".

However, at a news conference in China, Mr Putin stopped short of expressing support for more UN sanctions on North Korea, and said Russia viewed them as "useless and ineffective".

He also said it was "ridiculous" that the United States first slapped Russia with sanctions carried in the same bill that penalised North Korea, and "then asked us to help impose sanctions on North Korea".

North Korea's detonation of a hydrogen bomb on Sunday marked its most powerful nuclear test to date.

Mr Putin called for talks with North Korea, and warned against "military hysteria".

He said it was important that all parties, including North Korea, should not face "threats of annihilation" and "step on the path of cooperation".

The Russian leader added: "Whipping up military hysteria makes absolutely no sense in this situation.

"This is a road to nowhere."

South Korean warships have conducted live-fire exercises at sea as Seoul continued its displays of military capability following US warnings of a "massive military response" after North Korea detonated its largest-ever nuclear test explosion.

South Korea's presidential office also said Washington and Seoul have agreed to remove bilaterally agreed warhead restrictions on South Korean missiles, which would allow the South to develop more powerful weapons that would boost its pre-emptive strike capabilities against the North.

The South's military exercises on Monday involved F-15 fighter jets and land-based ballistic missiles simulating an attack on North Korea's nuclear test site to "strongly warn" Pyongyang over the recent detonation.

The heated words from the United States and the military manoeuvres in South Korea are becoming familiar responses to North Korea's rapid, as-yet unchecked pursuit of a viable arsenal of nuclear-tipped missiles that can strike the United States.

The most recent, and perhaps most dramatic, advance came on Sunday in an underground test of what leader Kim Jong Un's government claimed was a hydrogen bomb, the North's sixth nuclear test since 2006.

The UN Security Council held its second emergency meeting about North Korea in a week on Monday, with US Ambassador Nikki Haley saying the North's actions show that Kim is "begging for war", and the time has come for the Security Council to adopt the strongest diplomatic measures.

"Enough is enough. War is never something the United States wants. We don't want it now. But our country's patience is not unlimited," Ms Haley said.

South Korea has been seeking to obtain more powerful missiles while it pursues a so-called "kill chain" pre-emptive strike capability to cope with North Korea's growing nuclear and missile threat.

KEYWORDS: Putin, North Korea


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