Seoul Hopes N. Korea-Russia Summit Can Contribute to Denuclearization

Friday, 26 Apr, 2019

The young leader was welcomed by officials including Alexander Kozlov, Russian minister for the Far East and the Arctic; Oleg Kozhemyako, governor of Primorsky Krai; and Russian Ambassador to North Korea Alexander Matsegora, Tass news agency reported.

Kremlin adviser Yuri Ushakov told Russian news agencies on Tuesday that the Kim-Putin summit will take place Thursday at Vladivostok, a Russia city on the Pacific. "Russia intends to help in any way possible to cement that positive trend".

Some local media suspected Putin will make a stop in the far eastern port city of Vladivostok located near Russia's border with North Korea to hold a summit with Kim, The Diplomat reported.

The two heads of state will definitely discuss North Korea's illegal nuclear weapons program, Ushakov stated.

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

The talks follow repeated invitations from Putin since Kim past year embarked on a series of diplomatic overtures.

Kim has met Chinese President Xi Jinping four times in the space of a year but is now looking for wider global support in the standoff, analysts say.

Negotiations have remained at a standstill following Kim's summit with U.S. President Donald Trump in Hanoi that ended in February without a deal.

For Putin the summit is an opportunity to show that Russian Federation remains a major global player despite being under sanctions itself over its intervention in Ukraine and allegations that it meddled in US elections.

Like China, Russia is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and already sides with the North on the lifting of sanctions. Kim wants to protect the diplomatic profile he built during a series of unprecedented trips overseas a year ago and demonstrate to Trump that he has friends beyond just China.

They included restoring and expanding the 54km railway between the North Korean port of Rajin and Khasan in Russian Federation.

"Visiting Russia is leverage for Kim Jong Un when it comes to his negotiations with President Trump", she said. Putin previously met Kim Jong-il in Vladivostok in 2002.

North Korea was established on September 9, 1948, backed by the Soviet Union, Russia's predecessor.

Putin will meet Kim on his way to the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation to be held on April 25-27 in Beijing.