Putin says Korea conflict would be worse than Chernobyl

HANOVER, Germany (REUTERS) - Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed concern on Monday about the escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula and said conflict there could cause greater devastation than the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986.

"I would make no secret about it, we are worried about the escalation on the Korean peninsula, because we are neighbours," Mr Putin told a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a visit to a trade fair in Germany.

"And if, God forbid, something happens, Chernobyl which we all know a lot about, may seem like a child's fairy tale. Is there such a threat or not? I think there is... I would urge everyone to calm down... and start to resolve the problems that have piled up for many years there at the negotiating table."

Mr Putin also praised a US decision at the weekend to postpone a planned missile test as part of efforts to reduce tensions on the Korean peninsula.

"I think we should all thank the US leadership for this step. I hope it will be noticed by our North Korean partners, that certain conclusions will be drawn, everyone will calm down and start joint work to ease the situation."

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