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Putin praises China's Belt and Road initiative, condemns North Korea

By
Elizabeth Shim
Russia’s Vladimir Putin (L) said he supports China’s ambitious project of building infrastructure to link three continents. During the Belt and Road Forum, Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) pledged more than $100 billion for development. Photo by Damir Sagolj/EPA
Russia’s Vladimir Putin (L) said he supports China’s ambitious project of building infrastructure to link three continents. During the Belt and Road Forum, Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) pledged more than $100 billion for development. Photo by Damir Sagolj/EPA

May 15 (UPI) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin denounced North Korea's latest missile test as a "dangerous" move that goes against regional interests.

Putin made the statement during China's Belt and Road Forum on Monday.

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During the conference, Putin also expressed his full support for China's ambition to invest billions of dollars in infrastructure that links Asia, Europe and Africa, according to Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

Putin described the "One Belt, One Road" initiative to facilitate a 21st-century Silk Road, as a "timely and important proposition...in which Russia will engage with active participation."

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"Not only does Russia support this project, it will also actively participate in its implementation with China and other countries of interest," Putin said.

The Russian president also said the proposal was timely and important because the plan looks to create "a zone for economic development and mutually beneficial trade between Asia and Europe."

"This initiative take into account the latest trends in Eurasia and the global economy, and takes into consideration the need for coordination," Putin said.

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Xi has already pledged more than $100 billion for China's development banks for infrastructure projects across Asia, Europe and Africa.

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Putin, however, had less flattering words for North Korea after the country fired a powerful ballistic missile that landed in waters near Russia early Sunday.

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

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Russia, like China, wants North Korea to reform its economy and pursue the path of denuclearization.

North Korea has limited trade engagements with Moscow, but recently the two sides signed a "labor immigration" accord that raised a flag for human rights activists.

Russia is one of the top destinations for North Korea forced laborers, who are sent to work in labor-intensive industries in the country to earn foreign currency for the Kim Jong Un regime.

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