Vladivostok, Russia: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday met for the very first time and held a summit where the two nations pledged for better ties and expressed hope that the historic meeting will revive the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.
The summit at the Far Eastern Federal University is the first high-level meeting between the two countries since 2011, when Kim’s late father, Kim Jong-il, met then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in eastern Siberia, reports CNN.
Speaking before the North Korean and Russian delegations, Putin said that he believed Kim’s visit would help “our bilateral relations and will help us to understand the ways we can help to settle the situation on the Korean Peninsula, what can be done together, what Russia can do to support the positive processes that are taking their place now.
“We welcome your efforts on developing inter-Korean dialogue and your efforts on normalising the US-North Korean relations … In terms of bilateral agenda, we need to achieve a lot to develop trade and economic ties and humanitarian ties.”
Putin said he had “thorough one-on-one talks about the history of relations between our countries, about today and perspectives of development of our bilateral relations”.
In response, Kim Jong-un described his visit to Russia as “a great joy”.
“I would like to offer again a sincere gratitude to Mr. President for making time in his busy schedule and come thousands of miles from the capital city of Moscow to here to give us time for a great conversation.”
He said this visit was not only to meet Putin in person, but also “to exchange our mutual views on the Korean Peninsula”.
Kim Jong-un said that it was “to exchange opinions on the issues like growing and developing our two nation’s traditional relationship into one that is more solid and constructive according to the demand of the new century”.
The summit will be followed by closed-door delegation level talks which are expected to focus on finding a peaceful resolution to the issue of Pyongyang’s denuclearisation and efforts at reducing cross-border tensions on the Korean peninsula.
Kim Jong-un arrived in Vladivostok on Wednesday after travelling in a train from Pyongyang
The summit comes at a time when talks between Washington and Pyongyang have been stalled following the failure of a summit in Hanoi in February between Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump.
Putin is the sixth world leader to meet Kim Jong-un since he took control of North Korea in 2011.
Besides Putin and Trump, Kim Jong-un has also met Chinese President Xi Jinping, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong.