Russian President Vladimir Putin has said North Korea fulfilled its promises ahead of the cancelled summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un.
Mr Putin said the North Korean leader “did everything that he had promised in advance, even blowing up the tunnels and shafts” of the country’s nuclear testing site.
He spoke at a joint news conference with French counterpart Emmanuel Macron at the Konstantin Palace presidential residence outside St Petersburg, saying Russia regretted the development.
He added: “We had very much counted on it being a significant step in sorting out the situation on the Korean peninsula and that it would be the beginning of the process of denuclearising the whole Korean peninsula.”
Sadly, I was forced to cancel the Summit Meeting in Singapore with Kim Jong Un. pic.twitter.com/rLwXxBxFKx— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 24, 2018
Mr Macron expressed hope the efforts in Korea for “engagement toward a process of non-proliferation and denuclearisation can continue”.
“France is completely disposed to help,” the French leader said, “but I think it’s for the entire international community… and the United Nations has a particular role to play to work on it.”
They met amid deep differences over Syria, Ukraine and alleged Russian meddling abroad – but both men want to salvage the Iranian nuclear deal the US has withdrawn from.
On Iran, Mr Macron said the agreement has been “placed in a situation of risk by the Americans, but I want to see elements of optimism”.
Depuis septembre 2017 je propose quâon ouvre un nouvel accord pour complÃ©ter lâaccord sur le nuclÃ©aire iranien. La Russie a marquÃ© son ouverture sur ce projet.— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) May 24, 2018
Mr Putin reiterated support for the pact and said any unilateral sanctions imposed on Iran would be illegitimate.
Mr Macron’s aides insist he is not cosying up to Mr Putin or seeking to pivot away from France’s longstanding alliance with the US in favor of one with Russia and China.
Rather, they say he wants to keep a dialogue open to help solve world crises.
France also wants Russia to use its influence with Iran to ensure it respects its nuclear commitments despite Mr Trump’s decision.
The Iran issue marks the first time Russia, France and Germany have agreed on such a major matter in years.
Mr Macron also said he plans to attend some of the World Cup matches in Russia this summer.
There had been speculation he would stay away to protest the poisoning of an ex-Russian agent in Britain.
“Because I am an optimist by nature, I can say with assurance that I probably will come to support our team in several weeks,” he said.