Russia Supplying Oil to North Korea? No Problem, Says Putin’s Press Secretary

North Korea is likely buying diesel from Russian oil companies via trading companies in Singapore, and, should the US cut off all oil flows to Pyongyang, it would serve as the regime’s lifeline – senior-level North Korean defector Ri Jong Ho told the Voice of America Korean Service in his first interview since he defected in October 2014.

“Trade turnover between Russia and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is minimal, so it is hardly advisable to talk about the cessation of Russian oil products to it,” Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said, adding that President Putin has repeatedly stated that the supply of oil and oil products to North Korea is negligible.

“The President of Russia repeatedly, including at a press conference in Beijing, said that the volume of trade and economic interaction and supplies of oil and oil products to Korea are at an insignificant level, at a miserable level,” Peskov said, underlining that Putin is “serious about the situation on the Korean Peninsula and strongly condemns the provocative actions of Pyongyang,” which is almost weekly seeing some form of nuclear weapon test.

However, the Russian president, Peskov said, is not an advocate of driving the DPRK into a corner – it is “necessary for the North Korean authorities to conduct a constructive dialogue that would help overcome the current crisis,” since actions “against the North Korean authorities from the position of power will not yield positive results,” meaning that they would not stop the nuclear tests, even if large-scale sanctions were imposed on them.

“On the contrary, Pyongyang needs to be involved in dialogue, conditions created in which Pyongyang will feel secure, and thus seek ways out,” said Putin’s spokesman, adding that the Russian leader has not yet planned any contact with DPRK representatives in the framework of the Eastern Economic Forum, nor does he know of any plans by Russian representatives to hold meetings with economic representatives of North Korea.

David Drummers

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