Fri, 19 Jul 2019

Russia and North Korea have confirmed that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will visit Russia and meet with President Vladimir Putin on April 25.

Russia's state-run RIA Novosti reported on April 23 that the two leaders will meet in Russia's Far Eastern port city of Vladivostok. The agency report noted that no agreements or joint statements were expected from the meeting.

The same day, North Korea's official KCNA news agency said Putin had invited Kim to visit, but it did not say when or where the meeting would take place.

'They (Kim and Putin) will have talks during the visit,' KCNA said.

The Kremlin said on April 18 that Kim plans to visit Russia 'in the second half of April.' Putin is due to visit China to attend the April 26-27 Belt and Road Forum in Beijing.

Kim Jong Un's chief aide, Kim Chang Son, was seen in Vladivostok on April 21, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported. The Russian news agency Interfax reported that a limousine used by the North Korean leader had been brought to Vladivostok.

NK News, a news outlet that focuses on North Korea, showed photos on its website on April 22 of preparations under way at the Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok, with workers installing North Korean and Russian flags.

The expected meeting comes as U.S. President Donald Trump's administration is pushing for a deal to end nuclear tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

At summits in June 2018 and February 2019, Trump and Kim failed to reach an agreement on a denuclearization deal.

The Trump administration has suggested the possibility of a third summit, but North Korea on April 18 demanded that Washington remove Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from any future negotiations.

U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun was in Moscow last week to meet Russian officials to discuss ways to advance a 'final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea.'

In March, the United States imposed fresh sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear weapons program.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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