North Korea’s Kim Jong-un Arrives In Russia For Meeting With Putin

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

North Korea’s Kim Jong-un Arrives in Russia for Meeting With Putin

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Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader, is in Russia and is expected to meet with President Vladimir V. Putin. “I hope this visit will be successful and fruitful,” Mr. Kim said. Credit Credit Igor Novikov/Press Office of the Primorye Territory Administration, via Associated Press

SEOUL — Wearing a black fedora and black overcoat, a smiling Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader, stepped off an armored train that had taken him on a daylong journey from Pyongyang to the Russian port city of Vladivostok on Wednesday.

Mr. Kim’s arrival came a day before he is scheduled to meet with President Vladimir V. Putin as part of the North Korean leader’s efforts to fend off American pressure to give up his nuclear weapons arsenal.

Accompanied by senior Russian officials, Mr. Kim listened to a military band before stopping for a rare, short interview with the Russian television network Rossiya 1.

“I hope this visit will be successful and fruitful,” Mr. Kim said. “I hope that during talks with esteemed President Putin I will have a detailed discussion of the settlement process on the Korean Peninsula and the development of our relations.”

Mr. Kim is the first North Korean leader to travel to Russia since his father, Kim Jong-il, visited there in 2011, signaling that Mr. Kim is trying to foster ties with his country’s old Soviet allies while his diplomacy with President Trump remains deadlocked.

Mr. Kim’s meeting with Mr. Trump in Hanoi, Vietnam, in late February ended abruptly when the North Korean leader rejected Mr. Trump’s proposal for a “big deal” in which the United States would lift sanctions in return for a quick dismantlement of the North’s entire nuclear weapons program. Mr. Kim offered only a partial dismantlement in exchange for lifting the most harmful economic sanctions.

North Korea has since grown increasingly frustrated with Washington, conducting a weapons test and accusing Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, John R. Bolton, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of sabotaging the negotiations. Mr. Kim said he was willing to meet Mr. Trump again, but only if the United States made a new proposal that the North could accept by the end of the year.

A recent report by the United Nations sanctions committee has accused Russia of helping North Korea circumvent international sanctions through illegal ship-to-ship transfers of oil and coal. But there is doubt over Russia’s ability to ease the pain of sanctions for North Korea.

Eastern Russian port Vladivostok prepares to host Kim

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF INDIA’S HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

Eastern Russian port Vladivostok prepares to host Kim

Russian President Vladimir Putin has long said he was ready to meet with Kim and is preparing to play a bigger role in nuclear negotiations with Moscow’s Cold War-era ally.

WORLD Updated: Apr 19, 2019 20:04 IST

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
Vladivostok, Russia
Putin-Kim,North Korea,Russia
Russian media were quick to report preparations were underway for the summit to take place in Vladivostok, home to Moscow’s Pacific Fleet(AFP File)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is expected in Russia’s far-eastern port Vladivostok in the coming days, according to reports that have prompted excitement and concern among local residents.

After weeks of speculation, the Kremlin announced that Kim will visit Russia to hold his first talks with President Vladimir Putin in late April. It gave no details on a date or place, citing “security reasons.”

Russian media were quick to report preparations were underway for the summit to take place in Vladivostok, home to Moscow’s Pacific Fleet.

The port lies only about 130 kilometres (80 miles) from Russia’s short border with North Korea. This proximity is no doubt important for Kim, who is rumoured to travel aboard his armoured train.

The 35-year-old will be following in the footsteps of his father Kim Jong Il, who met the newly elected Putin in Vladivostok in 2002.

The far eastern city rarely sees major international events, and some locals are happy for the city to be in the spotlight.

– ‘If something happens, it will fall on us’ –

“Any visit is good, whether it’s an enemy or a friend,” said Danil, a student at Vladivostok’s Far Eastern Federal University, billed by the media as a possible venue for the summit.

He welcomed the talks, saying “you can only make decisions through dialogue and communication.”

Nadezhda, a native of the city, said it will be a global event and “will be a boost for development in our city.”

Authorities this week were busy cleaning garbage near railways leading to the city, Russian media reported.

“The depressing view from the train window does not give a positive impression to guests of Vladivostok arriving by train,” an official from the local branch of Russian Railways told the Interfax news agency.

Nadezhda said she was “absolutely not afraid of (North Korea’s) nuclear program” and would like to see the country.

North Korea said this week it was testing nuclear weapons after a round of talks with the US ended in failure.

But Anna Marinina was less enthusiastic about the summit, and said that if Pyongyang did use its weapons, Vladivostok would be in the firing line.

“The people that panic the most about North Korea are safe on the other side of the ocean,” she said.

“If something were to happen, it would fall on us.”

Putin has long said he was ready to meet with Kim and is preparing to play a bigger role in nuclear negotiations with Moscow’s Cold War-era ally.

The last meeting between Russian and North Korean heads of state was in 2011, when Kim’s father travelled by train to Siberia, where he took a boat ride on Lake Baikal and held tightly guarded talks with then president Dmitry Medvedev.

There is a chance however that fresh talks will not take place at all, as Kim pulled out of 2015 celebrations in Moscow for the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II at the last minute.

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First Published: Apr 19, 2019 19:59 IST