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Kremlin: DPRK's Kim to meet Putin in Russia on Thursday

By PAN MENGQI | China Daily | Updated: 2019-04-24 07:33

The Kremlin confirmed on Tuesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin and top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea Kim Jong-un will meet in Russia's Far East on Thursday, According to Agence France-Presse.

Kremlin foreign policy aide Yuri Ushakov said the meeting would take place in the Pacific coast city of Vladivostok.

"The focus will be on a political and diplomatic solution to the nuclear problem on the Korean Peninsula," Ushakov told a briefing on Tuesday.

"Russia intends to help consolidate positive trends in every way," he said.

Citing multiple sources, Russian newspaper Kommersant also earlier reported that Kim will arrive in Vladivostok by train on Wednesday and hold a summit with Putin the following day. Kim is expected to stay in Russia until Friday, the newspaper said.

It added that Kim's train, which may carry a 230-strong delegation, is expected to cross the DPRK-Russia border on Wednesday morning.

The upcoming summit will be the first between leaders of the two countries in eight years.

It is also the first time for Kim to travel abroad after his summit in Hanoi with US President Donald Trump that ended without a deal.

Cheng Xiaohe, an associate professor at the School of International Studies of Renmin University of China, noted that Pyongyang has been stepping up its diplomacy with its neighboring countries since the breakdown of the Hanoi summit-a move he sees as an effort to secure support in its nuclear negotiations with the United States.

"In their upcoming meeting, Kim may spend a significant amount of time with Putin on two major issues: The current situation on the Korean Peninsula and their bilateral economic cooperation," Cheng said.

Cheng said the summit will highlight the sanctions on Pyongyang, which is considered as the deal-breaker of the second DPRK-US summit in Hanoi.

He said according to previous reports, Russia's position on the issue is quite clear: It insists on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and has endorsed some of the toughest sanctions against the DPRK in the UN Security Council in the past, but it also made it clear that denuclearization cannot be achieved at one go.

Cheng said Russia is "quite sympathetic" with the DPRK for the suffering caused as Russia itself has been living under a variety of sanctions imposed by Western countries.

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