Kim Jong Un arrives in Russia for Putin summit | Eurasia Diary -

22 May, Wednesday

Kim Jong Un arrives in Russia for Putin summit

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North Korea's Kim Jong Un has travelled to Russia ahead of his talks with President Vladimir Putin in Vladivostok. Amid stalled nuclear talks with the US, Kim is expected to seek diplomatic assistance from the Kremlin.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un crossed the border into Russia in his armored train on Wednesday, a day before he is due to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in the port city of Vladivostok.

"I'm pleased to be on Russian soil," Kim told Russian officials he arrived at Hasan station near the North Korean border, according to a local Russian government statement.

Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov and Alexander Kozlov, the minister for Russia's Far East, greeted Kim after he exited the train. Russian officials gave the North Korean leader flowers, bread and salt, according to Russia's Tass news agency. Kim also visited a wooden house of Korean-Russian friendship, built on the border to mark the visit of his grandfather, Kim Il Sung, to the Soviet Union in 1986.

Kim was also expected have dinner with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Trutnev in Vladivostok later on Wednesday, South Korean media reported. The talks with President Putin, scheduled for Thursday, would likely focus on Pyongyang's nuclear program.

The visit — Kim's first to Russia and his first meeting with Vladimir Putin — comes amid an impasse in nuclear talks with the United States. The long-awaited summit between the North Korean dictator and US President Donald Trump in Hanoi broke down in February.

Even so, Russia seeks to "consolidate the positive trends" stemming from Kim's contacts with Trump, according to Kremlin adviser Yuri Ushakov. In addition to China, Russia is the only other country which shares a land border with North Korea, and Moscow has indicated it would like to see sanctions on Pyongyang relaxed.

Putin and Kim are expected to meet at at univesity campus on Vladivostok's Russky Island. Russian maritime authorities have announced that the waters around the island would be closed to all maritime traffic during the summit. The North Korean dictator is due to head back home on Friday.

Kim Jong Un became the leader of North Korea in 2011, after succeeding his late father, Kim Jong Il.


Deutsche Welle

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