United States military vehicle move as South Korean police officers try to block residents and protesters who oppose a plan to deploy an advanced USA missile defense system called Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, in Seongju, South Korea.
Seoul has hardened its stance against Pyongyang after its torrent of weapons tests, the latest a detonation Sunday of what North Korea said was a thermonuclear weapon built for missiles capable of reaching the USA mainland.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who will discuss North Korea with Moon and Putin in Vladivostok, said on Wednesday he wanted the North to understand it has “no bright future” if it continues on its current path.
According to a United Nations draft resolution seen by Reuters on Wednesday, the United States wants the United Nations to impose an oil embargo on North Korea, ban the country’s exports of textiles and the hiring of North Korean labourers as part of new sanctions on the North.
Putin and Moon met on the sidelines of an economic summit in the far eastern Russian city of Vladivostok amid mounting worldwide concerns that their shared neighbor plans more weapons tests, possibly a long-range missile launch ahead of a key weekend anniversary. “This is being done by people who mix up Australia with Austria”.
Putin called on all North Korea’s neighbours to show restraint, indicating the bellicose rhetoric and the military drills are only “playing into their hands”.
“We too, are against North Korea developing its nuclear capabilities and condemn it, but it is worrying cutting the oil pipeline will harm the regular people, like in hospitals”, Putin said, according to the South Korean presidential official.
He urged the global community to force North Korea to immediately comply with all resolutions of the UN Security Council in full and give up all its programs on creating nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.
They spoke on the phone on Monday, a day after Pyongyang’s sixth nuclear test, and agreed to seek a peaceful diplomatic solution, though Mr Moon also stressed the need for the North to stop its provocations.
China objects to both the military drills and the deployment in South Korea of an advanced US missile defence system that has a radar that can see deep into Chinese territory.
Geng told reporters that China had complained to the USA and South Korea and urged them to “take seriously the security concerns and interests of China and other regional countries”.
Sanctions have done little to stop North Korea boosting its nuclear and missile capacity as it faces off with Trump, who has vowed to stop it from being able to hit the USA mainland with a nuclear weapon.
Several U.S. military vehicles, including trucks carrying payloads covered in black sheets that appeared to be launchers, had been seen heading toward the site. The South’s defence ministry confirmed on Wednesday the launchers would be installed on a former golf course near Seongju City some 217 km (135 miles) south of Seoul.
Washington and Seoul began deploying THAAD before a conservative South Korean government was ousted in March in a corruption scandal.
Moon temporarily halted the THAAD installation for environmental reviews to ease residents’ concerns.
His plea came after North Korea carried out its largest nuclear test to date on Sunday, and amid fears the rogue state is planning a long-range missile launch ahead of a key anniversary this weekend.
South Korean officials say THAAD will strengthen the country’s missile defences, which now rely on Patriot-based systems, and will deter North Korea, which has missiles that can be fired from road-mobile launchers or submarines.