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Trump And Putin Agree To Cooperate On North Korea

| by Jordan Smith

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by telephone May on 2 and agreed to cooperate to deal with the crisis in North Korea.

The call between the two leaders was the first time they had spoken since the U.S. launched a Tomahawk missile strike against Syria, a Russian ally, the Independent reported.

The White House statement on the call between Trump and Putin described the situation in North Korea as "very dangerous." It suggested Russia could play a role in pressurizing North Korea not to continue its efforts to develop nuclear weapons.

The Kremlin statement referred to the discussion as "businesslike and constructive."

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"Russia's influence will be helpful [on North Korea], but not nearly as much as China's cooperation," Matthew Wallin, a senior fellow at the American Security Project, told the Independent.

But he noted that both countries had their own interests.

"Like China, Russia sees North Korea as a useful check on American power in the region," he added.

Trump and Putin also talked about Syria, although the issue of an alleged chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government, which was used to justify the missile strike, was not discussed.

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The White House statement noted with regard to the Syrian civil war that "all parties must do all they can to end the violence."

"It was a very good one, and included the discussion of safe, or de-escalation zones to achieve lasting peace for humanitarian and many other reasons," the White House statement said of the discussion on Syria, reports Reuters.

Wallin was unconvinced, saying it was "very unlikely we'll see significant action on ending the suffering in that country" following the call.

Another contentious issue between the two countries is the allegation that Russia intervened in the 2016 U.S. presidential election by spreading false information in the media.

Putin said at a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on May 2 that suggestions of Russian intervention were "rumors" created by domestic political conflicts.

"We never interfere in the political life and the political processes of other countries and we don't want anybody interfering in our political life and foreign policy processes," Putin added.

Trump and Putin also reportedly spoke about the possibility of a face-to-face meeting in Germany around the G20 meeting in July.

The Democratic National Committee released a statement on the call, describing Trump's strategy towards Russia as "appeasement."

"With no apparent talk of Russia's abysmal record on human rights, no clear message on [Syrian President Bashar] Assad's future in Syria, and no condemnation of Russia's continued aggression in Ukraine, it's clear that ultimately, Putin is getting what he wants from Trump," the statement said, reports ABC News.

Sources: Independent, Reuters via CBC, ABC News / Photo credit: Global Panorama/Flickr

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