Russian President Vladimir Putin made the case for optimism on North Korea Friday, Russian news agencies reported.
Putin, who is in China this week for the 18th Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit, told reporters Pyongyang is prepared to move in a new direction, Tass reported Friday.
North Korea is ready to act constructively in order to resolve the “issue of the Korean Peninsula,” Putin said, according to the report.
After the Russian leader held a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday, he said he knows North Korea is prepared because their readiness was confirmed after Russia made contact with Kim Jong Un.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov visited Pyongyang in May and said afterward North Korea sanctions must be lifted in order for denuclearization to happen.
Putin also said Russia and China are “interested in peace and stability in Northeast Asia and the Korean Peninsula” and that the two partners welcomed the start of negotiations between the two Koreas and the United States.
China, a founding member of the SCO, is hosting the leaders of the Eurasian bloc, including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.
The group was founded in Shanghai in April 1996. India, Pakistan joined the organization as full members in 2017.
Ahead of the meeting, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said four observer countries would attend.
The group will make public the results of their discussions in the upcoming “Qingdao Declaration,” named after the Chinese city where the meeting will be held.
The SCO nations represent 3.1 billion people, or 44 percent of the world’s population, and their share of the global economy has increased from 15 to 25 percent since its founding.
The meeting takes place as the nations of G7 hold their meetings in Quebec.
By Elizabeth Shim