WASHINGTON, D.C. — After weeks of escalating tensions between the United States and Russia, president Donald Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin have agreed to put their differences aside to work on a much bigger issue; North Korea.
In a statement on Tuesday, the White House confirmed that the two leaders had spoken by phone and agreed they must work together to help quash the “very dangerous” situation in North Korea.
The Kremlin also confirmed the call, and announced that Putin and Trump have agreed to schedule a face-to-face meeting in Germany in July – possibly coinciding with the upcoming G20 summit in Hamburg.
Although they did not elaborate on the exact details, the Kremlin also confirmed that the pair discussed the ongoing crisis in Syria, which has been a sore spot in U.S., Russia relations since a chemical attack took the lives of dozens of Syrian civilians last month. The White House said that the two leaders are in agreement that “all parties must do all they can to end the violence” in the war torn country, which is in it’s sixth year of a civil war.
“The conversation 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” said a White House spokesperson.
The phone conference was the first known discussion between the two leaders since Trump ordered US missile strikes against a Syrian government, who counts Russia as one of it’s staunchest allies.
Meanwhile, China, who has pledged to help play mediator between president Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jung Un, on Tuesday urged the United States and North Korea to make contact “as soon as possible” in an effort to cool nuclear tensions.
The plea came from Geng Shuang, spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry in response to Trump’s comments this week that he would be willing to meet with Jong Un to discuss their differences “if appropriate.”
“Both sides should reach a political resolution as soon as possible,” Mr Geng said. “The most effective way of attaining an improvement is to seek ways to re- establish dialogue and contact.”
Tensions between the U.S. and North Korea again reached a fever pitch this week after North Korean military officials threatened to sink a US nuclear submarine deployed in South Korean waters.
“The moment the USS Michigan tries to budge even a little, it will be doomed to face the miserable fate of becoming an underwater ghost without being able to come to the surface,” read a statement from the North’s propaganda website Urminzokkiri.
“The urgent fielding of the nuclear submarine in the waters off the Korean Peninsula, timed to coincide with the deployment of the super aircraft carrier strike group, is intended to further intensify military threats toward our republic. Whether it’s a nuclear aircraft carrier or a nuclear submarine, they will be turned into a mass of scrap metal in front of our invincible military power centred on the self-defence nuclear deterrence.”