North Korea looks to build foreign support after the second U.S.-North Korea summit in Vietnam back in February ended prematurely with no deal reached and sanctions untouched.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will meet on Thursday in the Russian city of Vladivostok for the first time, a Kremlin official confirmed on Tuesday.
The meeting will revolve around the international standoff over Pyongyang’s nuclear program. As North Korea looks to build foreign support after the second U.S.-North Korea summit in Vietnam back in February ended prematurely with no deal reached and sanctions untouched.
After the Hanoi summit failure, North Korea is now looking at other world powers to intervene. “As for Russia, the Putin-Kim summit will reaffirm Moscow’s place as a major player on the Korean Peninsula. This meeting is important for Russian international prestige,” Artyom Lukin, a professor, and political analyst said.
Russia has been involved for years in efforts to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear program. Putin previously met with Kim Jong Il, in 2002, and the former leader visited Russia again in 2011. The nation was also involved until 2009 in the so-called six-party talks with North and South Korea, Japan, the United States, and China.
“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,” Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov told reporters, adding that his country “intends to help in any way possible to cement that positive trend.”
The meeting will take place at the Far Eastern Federal University in the port city of Vladivostok. North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said on Wednesday Kim departed for Russia on Wednesday morning by private train, accompanied by senior officials including Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho and First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui.
Meanwhile, South Korea’s foreign ministry said it understood the agenda would include Russia-North Korea relations and regional cooperation. Foreign ministry spokesman Kim In-Chul said in Seoul, that Russia “shares our viewpoints” and that he “hopes that the summit will be an opportunity that contributes to positive progress.”