Oct. 19 (UPI) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday he'd like to work toward global nuclear disarmament.
Putin, at a meeting of the Vidal International Discussion Club in Sochi, Russia, said he's open to nuclear disarmament, but added that Russia would also focus on creating non-nuclear weapons in response to other countries doing the same.
"Should you ask me if nuclear disarmament is possible, I will tell you, 'yes, it is possible'," Putin said during the meeting, the state-owned Russian news agency TASS reported. "Does Russia wish to achieve universal nuclear disarmament or not? The answer is in the affirmative, too. Yes, it does, and it will be working for it."
The Russian leader said his country would stick to its Cold War-era arms treaty unless the United States pulls out of it.
But if the United States leaves, Putin said Moscow wouldn't hesitate to do the same.
Putin also pointed to other advanced high-tech countries that have developed precise non-nuclear weapons systems slightly inferior to the power of nuclear weapons. He did not explicitly mention the United States as one of these countries.
The president noted that these new advanced weapons could target specific areas better than nuclear weapons, which he said are "great enough to affect a vast territory with its blast wave and radiation."
"We keep a close watch on what is happening around the world and our country will be arming itself with new weapon systems, including non-nuclear ones," Putin said.
During the same event, Putin noted that North Korea shouldn't be isolated and targeted by countries that have been recently rattled by North Korean missile tests.
"Problems should be solved in dialogue," Putin said. "North Korea should not be backed into a corner."
Putin is expected to run for re-election in March.