Transcript of Russian President Vladimir Putin's press conference following Russian-North Korean Talks:
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon,
I suggest that we go straight to questions and answers. I will try to answer your questions. Go ahead, please.
Question: Mr President, this was your first meeting with Kim Jong-un. There is significant interest towards him as a person around the world. Could you share with us your impressions about him as a person and a politician, and whether you are satisfied with the outcomes of the talks?
Vladimir Putin: Yes, my colleagues and I are all satisfied with the outcomes of the talks. Chairman Kim Jong-un is quite an open person and speaks freely. We had a very detailed conversation on all items on our agenda and discussed them in various aspects, including bilateral relations, sanctions, United Nations, relations with the United States, and, of course, the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, which is the main subject. I can confirm that he is quite an interesting and substantive interlocutor.
Question: Mr President, coming out of these talks, what in your opinion are the real prospects for denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and for Pyongyang and Seoul to improve their relations? What needs to be done to achieve this? What steps need to be taken and what barriers will have to be overcome? What prevents the parties from reaching common ground?
Vladimir Putin: The most important thing, as we have discussed today during the talks, is to restore the rule of international law and revert to the position where global developments were regulated by international law instead of the rule of force. If this happens, this would be the first and critical step toward resolving challenging situations such as the one on the Korean Peninsula.
So, what is denuclearisation all about? It implies North Korea’s disarmament to a certain extent. Naturally (I have noted this on numerous occasions and can confirm this once again), the North Korean side is also talking about this. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea needs guarantees of its security and sovereignty.
But what guarantees can there be, except those based on international law? We can think about international guarantees, and this would probably be correct. But these guarantees also lie in the sphere of international law. Therefore we will not invent anything new here.
How substantial will these guarantees be, and to what extent will they meet the interests of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea? It is still too early to talk about this today, but it is necessary to take the first steps towards strengthening trust. To my mind, this seems possible on the whole.
It was possible as far back as 2005, when the United States and North Korea signed the relevant treaty and agreement. For some reason, our American partners suddenly decided that the provisions stipulated and coordinated by the United States were not exhaustive, and that it was necessary to add something else there. These aspects were included in the treaty, and North Korea immediately withdrew from it.