Russian President Vladimir Putin said after holding his first face-to-face talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Thursday that U.S. security guarantees would probably not be enough to persuade Pyongyang to shut its nuclear programme.
Putin andKim held a day of talks on an island off the Russian Pacific city ofVladivostok two months after Kim's summit with U.S. President Donald Trumpended in disagreement, cooling hopes of a breakthrough in the decades-oldnuclear row.
The talksbetween Putin and Kim did not appear to have yielded any major breakthrough.
But Putin,keen to use the summit to burnish Russia's diplomatic credentials as a globalplayer, said he believed any U.S. guarantees might need to be supported by theother nations involved in previous six-way talks on the nuclear issue.
That would mean including Russia, China, Japan and South Korea as well as the United States and North Korea, a long-standing format that has been sidelined by unilateral U.S. efforts to broker a deal.
"They (theNorth Koreans) only need guarantees about their security. That's it. All of ustogether need to think about this," Putin told reporters after talks with Kim.
"…I'mdeeply convinced that if we get to a situation when some kind of securityguarantees are needed from one party, in this case for North Korea, that itwon't be possible to get by without international guarantees. It's unlikelythat any agreements between two countries will be enough."
Suchguarantees would have to be international, legally-binding, and vouch for NorthKorea's sovereignty, said Putin.
The twoleaders appeared to get on well. The first session between Putin and Kim,comprising one-on-one talks with just a few aides present, lasted twice as longas the 50 minutes allocated in the schedule.
Putindescribed Kim as "quite open" and as "thoughtful" and "interesting".