“They want to be at the table, they want to be relevant, they want to have leverage to either play a spoiler role or play a broker role,” the source said.
Paul Saunders, executive director of the Center for the National Interest, told the Postit “gives them an opportunity to highlight the ways in which they can either contribute to or undermine US foreign policy.”
Russia’s influence in North Korea isn’t exactly new as the country has always supported the secretive state in some capacity.
North Korea and Russia share similar ideologies and historic economic ties along with a 17km border.
The Soviet Union was a major economic backer of North Korea before its collapse, but Russia accounts for only 1 per cent of foreign trade today.
In 2014, Moscow wrote off 90 per cent of Pyongyang’s $11 billion debt from the Soviet-era.
Russia’s renewed focus on North Korea was the subject of a report by private-intelligence firm Stratfor which revealed how it was looking to expand its influence in the region.
“It’s just another area where Russia has a finger in the pie and which the US has interests in,” he said.
‘ROAD TO NOWHERE’
Along with the US, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are also pushing for stronger sanctions against North Korea.
In a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Mr Moon yesterday urged Moscow to support their push.
Putin has instead called for talks with North Korea, arguing sanctions won’t stop the country’s nuclear and missile program.
“We should not give in to emotions and push Pyongyang into a corner,” Putin said in a news conference after the meeting, held on the sidelines of a conference on economic development of Russia’s Far East.
“As never before, everyone should show restraint and refrain from steps leading to escalation and tensions.”
It comes after Putin cautioned against using military force against the country.
“It’s a road to nowhere. Whipping up military hysteria — this will lead to no good,” he said.
“It could cause a global catastrophe and an enormous loss of life,” he told a televised news conference in China.
The Russian president, who was in China for a summit of leading emerging economies, told reporters that he had remarked to one of his counterparts at the talks that North Korea “will eat grass but will not give up the (nuclear) program, if they don’t feel safe.”