Mr Kim arrived by train in the Pacific Coast city of Vladivostok for his first talks with the Russian president, which are expected to start on Thursday.He was welcomed by officials with a traditional offering of bread and salt.Russia says they will discuss the Korean peninsula’s “nuclear problem” but Mr Kim is also said to be seeking support after talks with the US failed.
US President Donald Trump and Mr Kim met in Hanoi earlier this year to discuss North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme but the summit – their second – ended without agreement.The North Korean leader greeted Russian officials warmly on his arrival in Vladivostok.After tasting traditional korovai bread and salt, Mr Kim was entertained by a brass band before he got inside a car flanked by bodyguards who – in now familiar scenes – jogged alongside the vehicle as it departed.
“I arrived in Russia bearing the warm feelings of our people, and as I already said, I hope this visit will be successful and useful,” Mr Kim told Russian TV earlier, after crossing the border at Khasan.”I hope that during the talks with respected President Putin, I will be able to discuss in a concrete manner issues relating to the settlement of the situation on the Korean peninsula, and to the development of our bilateral relations.”
According to his spokesman, the Kremlin believes the six-party talks on North Korea, which are currently stalled, are the only efficient way of addressing the issue of nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula.Those talks, which began in 2003, involve the two Koreas as well as China, Japan, Russia and the US.”There are no other efficient international mechanisms at the moment,” Mr Peskov told reporters.”But, on the other hand, efforts are being made by other countries. Here all efforts merit support as long as they really aim at de-nuclearisation and resolving the problem of the two Koreas.”
This visit is being widely viewed as an opportunity for North Korea to show it has powerful allies following the breakdown of nuclear talks with the US earlier this year.A South Korean foreign ministry spokesman said Russia “shares our viewpoints” on denuclearisation and peace on the peninsula.
Nuclear activity seems to be continuing in North Korea, and the country said it had tested a new “tactical guided weapon” – thought to be a short-range missile – earlier in April.