Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia has urged foreign leaders not to respond hastily to North Korea. On a visit to China, Putin condemned the latest missile launch by the hermit state but also warned against acts of intimidation aimed at North Korea, comments that were understood to be aimed at Washington.

“I would like to confirm that we are categorically against the expansion of the club of nuclear states, including through the Korean Peninsula. We are against it and consider it counterproductive, damaging, dangerous,” Putin told journalists.

Test missiles

The remarks by Putin came following the firing of yet another ballistic missile by North Korea which was airborne for about half an hour and which covered a distance of approximately 450 miles. This performance level has previously not been evident in other missiles that North Korea has tested.

Reports indicate that a high angle was chosen in the latest missile launch with a view to avoiding neighboring countries. Experts noted that if the shooting of the missile had been at a more standard trajectory it would have covered a distance of approximately 2,500 miles. This would have been adequate to hit the air force base of the United States in Guam. The missile test is part of efforts by North Korea to build a nuclear-tipped missile with the capacity to reach the United States, a distance of approximately 4,800 miles.

Diplomatic ties

Despite the concerns Russia has expressed over North Korea’s nuclear development program, it remains one of the countries in the world that enjoy diplomatic ties with the secretive state. Three years ago, about 90% of the $11 billion debt that North Korea had accrued during the soviet era was written off. In recent times the two countries have forged economic partnerships such as expanding the rail network between Russia and North Korea, putting up a ferry service to connect the two countries and offering training opportunities for engineers from North at universities in Russia. And even though North Korea has been under sanctions, Siberian oil firms have been selling fuel to the rogue state.