Russian President Vladimir Putin says it would be a mistake for the United States to back North Korean leader Kim Jong-un into a corner, predicting he would lash out militarily if he thought his regime was in danger of being toppled.
During a meeting of international policy experts in the Black Sea coastal town of Sochi, Putin urged more dialogue in order to solve the dispute between Washington and Pyongyang over the latter’s nuclear and ICBM programs.
“Problems should be solved in dialogue, and North Korea should not be backed into a corner,” Putin said in a speech to the elite of Russia’s foreign policy establishment and foreign guests.
The Trump administration is not placing a premium on dialogue, however, as President Trump has often made clear that talking with the North Koreans in the past led nowhere. He believes that will continue to be the case.
Analyst Comment: We can’t think of any reason why North Korea leader Kim Jong-un would, at any point, willingly abandon his nuclear program and his ICBM development. If anything, as the war of words with Trump has escalated over the past few months, Kim is quickening his nuclear and missile development, as evidenced by the faster pace of missile and nuclear testing. As for Putin, he wants to be seen as a fixer and he wants Russia to play an outsized role as mediator, which increases Moscow’s influence globally.
Why it’s on our radar: Information in this article helps satisfy Priority Intelligence Requirement 1: What are the latest indicators of a U.S.-North Korea conflict? Each week in our Strategic Intelligence Summary, we gauge the likelihood and scope of conflict with Russia, China, North Korea, and in the Middle East, and track the latest developments in each region. Subscribe here to receive our premium intelligence products prepared by Intelligence and special operations veterans.