Putin, Xi talk­ing North Korea, trade at Krem­lin

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin and Chi­nese leader Xi Jin­ping held for­mal talks yes­ter­day against a back­drop of mount­ing ten­sions over North Korea ahead of G20 sum­mit talks with Don­ald Trump. The meet­ing in Moscow came as North Korea claimed the launch of its first in­ter-con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile, and US Pres­i­dent Trump urged China to “end this non­sense once and for all”.

Chi­nese state news agency Xin­hua re­ported Putin and Xi “agreed to jointly push for a proper set­tle­ment of the penin­sula is­sue via di­a­logue and ne­go­ti­a­tion” at a closed Krem­lin meet­ing Mon­day evening on the eve of the of­fi­cial talks. Bei­jing-North Korea’s clos­est diplo­matic ally-and Moscow have called re­peat­edly for calm on all sides, but Trump has warned Wash­ing­ton’s pa­tience with Py­ongyang is near­ing an end.

Xi and Putin once again slammed the US THAAD mis­sile sys­tem in­stalled in South Korea to pro­tect against the North, Xin­hua said. Both lead­ers ar­gue that it threat­ens the strate­gic bal­ance in the re­gion. The Krem­lin gave no de­tails on what was dis­cussed at the “in­for­mal” tetea-tete Mon­day. While the lat­est ten­sions over North Korea fig­ured high on the agenda the main fo­cus of the Putin-Xi meet­ing was set to re­main boost­ing grow­ing trade and po­lit­i­cal ties be­tween the two in­creas­ingly close part­ners.

The gi­ant neigh­bors are ex­pected to over­see the ink­ing of a raft of deals worth bil­lions of dol­lars as Moscow con­tin­ues a pivot to­wards China it has ramped up since ties with the West slumped over Ukraine. Ahead of his ar­rival in Moscow Xi said that re­la­tions with Rus­sia were cur­rently en­joy­ing their “best time in his­tory” as he and Putin have struck up a close re­la­tion­ship. The Krem­lin strong­man is set to present Xi with a pres­ti­gious Rus­sian state award at the Krem­lin. Af­ter their meet­ing in Moscow the two lead­ers are set to head to the G20 sum­mit in Ham­burg where they will come face-to-face with Trump, a first meet­ing for Putin with the US pres­i­dent. —AFP

MOSCOW: Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin (left) shakes hands with Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping dur­ing a meet­ing in the Krem­lin, in Moscow yes­ter­day. Chi­nese Pres­i­dent is on a two-day of­fi­cial visit in Moscow. —AP

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