The first meeting in eight years between Russian and North Korean leaders should include the UN sanctions.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un will “soon” travel to Russia for talks with President Vladimir Putin, the official North Korean news agency KCNA confirmed on Tuesday.
Kim Jong-Un “will soon visit Russia at the invitation” of President Putin, she said. “They will have discussions during this visit,” added the brief dispatch. KCNA did not specify where the meeting was to take place.
The Kremlin said Thursday that the two men would meet in Russia “in the second half of April” without providing further details.
Two main issues
The meeting is expected to take place in the port of Vladivostok in eastern Russia, probably on Wednesday or Friday. This will be the first summit between leaders of the two countries since Kim Jong-Il, the father of the current North Korean leader, met Dmitry Medvedev eight years ago.
President Putin has long expressed his willingness to meet with the North Korean leader. Russia maintains a rather friendly relationship with Pyongyang and provides some food aid. This is one of the two main queries that Kim could make: that Russia is helping her to cope with a food shortage ahead for the summer.
The other topic is the 10,000 North Koreans working in eastern Russia, largely in the forest industry, who could be deported by the end of the year, when UN sanctions will take effect, notes Associated Press. The salaries of North Korean emigrants represent hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for the regime, according to estimates by US authorities.
Arm wrestling with Washington
The Kim-Putin meeting comes less than two months after the second summit between the North Korean leader and US President Donald Trump, held in Hanoi, which ended without reaching an agreement on the fate of the nuclear arsenal north Korean.
Kim Jong-Un has met with Chinese President Xi Jinping four times in the space of a year, but is currently seeking broader international support in his standoff with Washington, analysts said.
Russia has already called for the lifting of international sanctions against North Korea, while the United States has accused it of helping Pyongyang to violate some of these sanctions, accusations rejected by Moscow.