HANOVER, April 8 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday praised the US decision to postpone an intercontinental ballistic missile test in order to avoid further escalation of the conflict on the Korean Peninsula.
“It seems to me that the United States has taken a very important and sensible step; it has delayed a ballistic missile test to avoid aggravating the situation,” Putin said after talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“I believe we should all thank the US administration for taking that step.”
Putin said he hoped the gesture would be noted by “our partners in North Korea” and that everyone “will calm down and start working together to defuse the situation.”
A senior US defense official said on Sunday that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has delayed the long-planned Minuteman 3 test because of concerns the launch could be misinterpreted and exacerbate the current crisis, AP reported.
South Korean Presidential Security Advisor Kim Jang-soo said earlier on Monday that North Korea could launch a missile this week, South Korea’s The Chosun Ilbo daily reported.
North Korea reportedly moved two missiles capable of striking the US Pacific territory of Guam onto mobile launch pads Friday, and advised foreign embassies to consider pulling staff out of Pyongyang.
The daily quoted an unnamed source in the government as saying that North Korea may also be preparing to carry out its fourth nuclear test.
Tensions began to rise on the Korean Peninsula after international sanctions were imposed on North Korea in response to a long-range rocket launch in December, which world powers condemned as a ballistic missile test. North Korea responded by carrying out a third nuclear test in February, which was followed by more sanctions.
Updated at 15:29 – Putin quote contracted