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Need more steps to scrap North Korea nuclear programme, Trump tells Vladimir Putin

US President Donald Trump also told Russian President Vladimir Putin that now is the time to work toward a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians, the White House said in a statement.

world Updated: Feb 13, 2018 08:25 IST
Donald Trump,Vladimir Putin,North Korea
US President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin talk during the family photo session at the APEC Summit in Danang, Vietnam November 11, 2017.(Reuters File)

US President Donald Trump, who complained last month that Moscow was “not helping us at all with North Korea,” told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday that more needs to be done to scrap Pyongyang’s nuclear programme, the White House said.

“President Trump reiterated the importance of taking further steps to ensure the denuclearisation of North Korea,” the White House said in a statement about the call with Putin.

In an interview with Reuters last month, Trump accused Russia of helping North Korea evade international sanctions meant to punish Pyongyang for its pursuit of a nuclear-armed missile capable of reaching the United States.

“Russia is not helping us at all with North Korea,” Trump told Reuters.

Moscow denies it has failed to uphold UN sanctions.

Trump and Putin spoke after US vice president Mike Pence, in an interview with the Washington Post, raised the prospect of talks with North Korea.

But Pence, who travelled to South Korea for the Winter Olympics, also said Washington would intensify its “maximum pressure campaign” against Pyongyang until it takes a “meaningful step toward denuclearisation.”

Last year, North Korea conducted dozens of missile launches and its sixth and largest nuclear test in defiance of UN resolutions.

Russia signed on to the latest rounds of United Nations Security Council sanctions against North Korea imposed last year, including a ban on coal exports, which are an important source of the foreign currency Pyongyang needs to fund its nuclear program.

But North Korea shipped coal to Russia at least three times last year after the ban was put in place on Aug. 5, three Western European intelligence sources told Reuters.

The North Korean coal was shipped to the Russian ports of Nakhodka and Kholmsk, where it was unloaded at docks and reloaded onto ships that took it to South Korea or Japan, the sources said.

Trump, Putin discuss Middle East

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday at the start of talks with Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas that he had discussed the Middle East conflict with his US counterpart Donald Trump.

“I just spoke with American President Trump,” Putin told Abbas before continuing the talks behind closed doors. “Obviously we spoke about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

The Palestinian leader was visiting Moscow in a bid to secure Putin’s support after Trump outraged the Palestinians and their allies by recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The “situation is far from what we want to see,” Putin said, adding that he has “always supported the Palestinian people”.

First Published: Feb 13, 2018 08:21 IST