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  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un departs to visit Russia

    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un departs to visit Russia | Photo: Reuters

Published 24 April 2019

North Korea's Kim Jung Un has entered Russia for the first time since becoming the Supreme Leader in 2011.  

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un crossed the border into Russia on Wednesday by train, Russian media reported, for his first trip there aimed at galvanizing support from President Vladimir Putin while nuclear talks with Washington are in limbo.

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During the summit, the North Korean leader is expected to project himself as a serious world player with his first meeting with the Russian President and at the same time seek assistance from a key ally to ease economic pressure brought on by U.S. and international sanctions.

The young leader will meet with Putin in the Russian Pacific port of Vladivostok on Thursday with the nuclear stalemate with the United States topping the agenda, Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov said.

"In the last few months the situation around the peninsula has stabilized somewhat, thanks in large part to North Korea's initiatives of stopping rocket testing and closing its nuclear test site," Ushakov told reporters.

"Russia intends to help in any way possible to cement that positive trend."

Arriving in an armored train at the Russian border station of Khasan, Kim was greeted with flowers and traditional gifts of bread and salt, the RIA news agency reported, citing an unnamed local government official.

He then toured the Russian-Korean Friendship House located at the station, built ahead of a 1986 visit by his late grandfather and state-founder and leader Kim Il Sung who died in 1994, RIA said.

The North's official KCNA news agency reported earlier on Wednesday that Kim departed for Russia accompanied by key aides including Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho and veteran nuclear negotiator Choe Son Hui.

The North Korean leader is looking to Russia's Putin to shore up support after the recent collapse of peace talks with the U.S. administration. 

While the Trump administration has stated that they are open to another round of talks, North Korea has expressed their dissatisfaction over the previous engagement with Washington. 

The U.S. has a long standing issue with North Korea's nuclear program, which Washington views as a serious threat to regional security. 

Finally, North Korea's continued support to countries like Iran and Venezuela have further agitated the Trump administration as Washington has attempted to isolate these nations with economic blockades. 


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