Wednesday 18 September 2019

Kim 'to visit Russia this week' to hold talks with Putin

The visit is part of Mr Kim’s effort to build foreign support for his economic development plans. Photo: Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP
The visit is part of Mr Kim’s effort to build foreign support for his economic development plans. Photo: Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP

Joyce Lee and Josh Smith

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will visit Russia for a summit with President Vladimir Putin, North Korean state media said yesterday, with a Russian newspaper reporting they will meet in Vladivostok tomorrow.

The visit is part of Mr Kim's effort to build foreign support for his economic development plans, analysts said, after the breakdown of a second US-North Korea summit in February meant no relief on sanctions for North Korea.

There was no immediate comment on the report from the Kremlin, but spokesman Dmitry Peskov had said on Monday that Mr Putin and Mr Kim were on track to meet by the end of April.

Mr Kim's chief aide, Kim Chang-son, was seen in Vladivostok on Sunday, according to a South Korean news agency.

Russia has long been involved in efforts to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear programme.

It was involved in the so-called six- party talks - along with the two Koreas, Japan, the US and China - last held in 2009.

NK News, a group following North Korea, showed photos on its website of preparations at Vladivostok's Far Eastern Federal University, likely to host part of the summit, with workers putting up North Korean and Russian flags.

South Korea's foreign ministry said it understood the agenda would include Russia-North Korea relations, denuclearisation and regional co-operation.

"Russia shares our views such as the achievement of complete denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula and the settlement of permanent peace," foreign ministry spokesman Kim In-chul said.

"I hope that the summit will be an opportunity that contributes to positive progress."

Irish Independent

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