US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday Russia was helping North Korea obtain supplies in violation of international sanctions and that Pyongyang was “getting closer” to having a long-range missile capable of reaching the United States.
This was reported by Reuters.
“Russia is not helping us at all with regard to North Korea,” Trump said in an interview with the Oval Office with Reuters.
“What China is helping us is being undermined by Russia. In other words, Russia is compensating for some of what China is doing. ”
As North Korea remains the world’s biggest challenge to the US president this year, Trump questioned during the 53-minute interview whether talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un would be helpful. Trump has not ruled out direct talks with Kim in the past.
Trump declined to comment when asked whether he had engaged in any contacts with Kim, who had exchanged insults and threats as tensions increased in the region.
“I will sit down, but I’m not sure this will solve the problem,” he said, adding that previous negotiations by former US presidents with North Koreans had failed to rein in North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.
“I am not sure that the talks will lead to any useful outcome. They talked for 25 years and took advantage of our former presidents. ”
Trump praised China for its efforts to restrict oil and coal supplies to North Korea but said Beijing could do more to help curb Pyongyang.
But he added that Russia seemed to block the gaps left by the Chinese.
“He can do a lot,” he said of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Unfortunately, we do not have a very good relationship with Russia, and in some cases, perhaps China does not give it to Russia. So the end result is not as good as it should be. ”
The US president said Pyongyang is steadily developing its capability to produce a missile capable of reaching the United States.
“They have not achieved this yet, but they are close to it. They are getting closer every day. ”
North Korea said after its latest ballistic missile test in November that the test put the US mainland in range of its missiles. Some experts said that, based on the rocket’s trajectory and the distance it traveled, it could reach as far as Washington, DC.