Trump says 'Russia is not helping' with North Korea
Posted January 17, 2018 2:22 p.m. EST
WASHINGTON (CNN) — President Donald Trump on Wednesday accused Russia of helping North Korea skirt international sanctions aimed at curbing North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
"Russia is not helping us at all with North Korea," Trump told Reuters in an interview. "What China is helping us with, Russia is denting. In other words, Russia is making up for some of what China is doing."
Trump's rare criticism of Russia came as he commended China for largely complying with international sanctions that are aimed at ramping up pressure on Pyongyang by further isolating the regime that has threatened the US and its allies in Asia with nuclear attacks.
His comments appear to reference reports that Russian tankers have helped refuel North Korea with shipments at sea.
Trump also declined for the second time in as many weeks to confirm whether he has communicated with Kim Jong Un, the North Korean leader. He reaffirmed that he is open to sitting down with Kim, but expressed doubt that direct talks would help "solve the problem."
"I'm not sure that talks will lead to anything meaningful," he said. "They've talked for 25 years and they've taken advantage of our presidents, of our previous presidents."
Trump's comments came as South Korea and North Korea have engaged in the most substantive direct talks in years, which have led to plans for the two countries to march together in the Olympics under a united flag.