Updated 1501 GMT (2301 HKT) September 6, 2017
(CNN)A day after predicting “global catastrophe” if North Korea’s nuclear tests lead to anything other than talks, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the situation may be “impossible” to resolve.
Putin made the comments after meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia.
Putin repeated his assertion that sanctions and pressure won’t be enough to rein in North Korea.
“Do not succumb to emotions and drive North Korea into a corner. Now more than ever, everyone needs to be calm and avoid steps that lead to an escalation of tension,” Putin said.
Without the political and diplomatic tools, it is extremely difficult to move the situation around. And to be more precise, I think it is impossible at all,” he added.
Tensions over North Korea’s nuclear program intensified this week after Pyongyang’s boast Sunday that had it successfully tested a hydrogen bomb that could be mounted on a missile.
During his Russia visit, Moon spoke warmly of his relationship with Putin, saying the two were “friendly” and shared the same aims. “Especially regarding the new East policy you are pursuing and the new defense policy I am pursuing, it makes me feel that we are dreaming the same dream,” said Moon.
However, he had own stark message about the situation on the Korean Peninsula: “If North Korea’s provocation doesn’t stop here, I think could fall into an uncontrollable situation.”
Russia has played a much more visible role in the North Korea crisis since the nuclear test.
John DeLury, a professor at Yonsei University in South Korea, says the meeting in Vladivostok is part of Putin’s efforts to increase Russia’s presence in East Asia.
“Because the Americans are sending mixed signals, Putin probably sees an opening to take the lead,” he said.
While US Defense Secretary James Mattis warned of a “massive military response,” US President Trump suggested a massive clampdown on trade with countries that do business with North Korea. That would include China.
Trump is scheduled to have his first conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping since the nuclear test at 9 a.m. ET Wednesday.
Putin was in China the day of the nuclear test and has already had an audience with the Chinese leader.