Kim Jong-un Arrives in Vladivostok For Meeting With Putin
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Kim Jong-un Arrives in Vladivostok For Meeting With Putin

By IndraStra Global News Team

Kim Jong-un Arrives in Vladivostok For Meeting With Putin

Image Attribute: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un arriving at Khasan railway station on April 24, 2019. / Source: Reuters

On April 24, 2019, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has crossed the border into Russia by train a day ahead of his meeting with President Vladimir Putin in the Far Eastern port city of Vladivostok. Kim and Putin are set to meet for the first time on April 25 but do not plan to sign any agreements or make a joint statement.

Kim left Pyongyang on Wednesday at dawn, North Korean state news agency KCNA reported. An official video of a welcome ceremony at the Khasan station on the border, posted on April 24 by the press service of the Primorye regional government via Russia Today, shows the North Korea leader accepting a bouquet of flowers and tasting a traditional Russian bread loaf that was presented by girls in Russian folk costumes. 

Russia’s Interfax news agency reports that the delegation of Russian officials greeting Kim included Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov, Russian Ambassador to North Korea Aleksandr Matsegora, Minister for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic Aleksandr Kozlov, and the Primorye region's governor, Oleg Kozhemyako.

After leaving the Khasan station, the train headed toward Ussuriysk by getting onto the Trans-Siberian Railway leading to Vladivostok. The journey from the train station in Khasan, near the North Korean border, to Vladivostok took about nine hours, according to TASS. The armored train traveled for the nearly 420 miles (700-kilometer) trip along with a delegation of government and armed forces officials.

According to  Primorye administration's press service, Kim said he was "happy to be on Russian soil."And, he has wanted to visit Russia "for a long time."

According to Yury Ushakov, Aide to the President of Russia at Kremlin, "The focus of the talks on April 25 will be on a political and diplomatic solution to the nuclear problem on the Korean Peninsula." He further added, "In the last few months the situation around the peninsula has stabilized somewhat, thanks in large part to North Korea's initiatives of stopping rocket testing and closing its nuclear test site." Ushakov said the two leaders would hold face-to-face talks before being joined by broader delegations, including Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

The expected meeting between the two leaders comes as U.S. President Donald Trump's administration is pushing for a deal to end nuclear tensions on the Korean Peninsula. In the last two American-North Korean summits — June 2018 (Singapore) and February 2019 (Hanoi, Vietnam) — Trump and Kim failed to reach an agreement on a denuclearization deal.

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Earlier this month, Kim Jong-un presented a deadline to the US for moving negotiations between the two countries forward which is followed by pair of tweets posted by President Donald Trump which signaled that he’s open to another summit with North Korea.

Soon afterward, on April 17-18, U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun traveled to Moscow and met with Russian officials to discuss efforts to advance the "final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea."

In March 2019, the United States imposed new sanctions on two Chinese shipping companies that it says have been helping North Korea evade international sanctions. It came less than a month after the February 2019 Hanoi summit between Trump and Kim collapsed, without a deal.

With reporting by AFP, AP, BBC, CNN, Interfax, Reuters, and TASS