Putin said that whipping up military hysteria around the North Korean crisis was counterproductive, adding that Pyongyang would not end its nuclear and missile programmes because it views them as its only means for self-defence.
“It’s impossible to scare them,” Putin said at an economic forum in the far eastern Russian city of Vladivostok.
He said that, as an incentive to freeze its weapons programmes, North Korea was being offered the prospect of an end to sanctions. But the economic benefits of that, in Pyongyang’s eyes, are outweighed by the security risks.
“We are telling them that we will not impose sanctions, which means you will live better, you will have more good and tasty food on the table, you will dress better, but the next step, they think, is an invitation to the cemetery. And they will never agree with this.”
(Reporting by Denis Pinchuk, Oksana Kobzeva and Katya Golubkova; Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Christian Lowe)