Kim jong un meets Vladimir Putin

Kim meets Putin for the first time : One-to-one conversation was "full of content" and "very substantial"

The North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un and the Russian President Vladimir Putin have shown themselves to be very satisfied after their first long one-to-one conversation. Putin called the conversation "substantial", Kim Jong Un "very substantial".

It was also about the situation on the Korean peninsula, which is one of the biggest international problems, said Kim on Thursday in Vladivostok. Putin said both sides had also discussed how the situation could be improved. The two expressed themselves after more than an hour of conversation, as Russian television showed. Details were not disclosed.

"We were able to talk about the history of our relations and about today as well as the development of the bilateral relationship," said Putin. He and Kim had previously announced that they would also talk about the controversial North Korean nuclear program. As a neighbor of North Korea, Russia is interested in nuclear disarmament there. Moscow is campaigning for the sanctions against Pyongyang to be relaxed for steps towards nuclear disarmament.
Following the one-to-one meeting, the delegations from both countries began negotiations that lasted several hours. According to Russian information, it was not initially planned that agreements will be signed. A joint summit declaration was therefore not planned either. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also took part in the talks in the far east of Russia.

Kim seeks to be close to Putin

Two months after the failed summit with US President Donald Trump in Hanoi, Kim is looking for closeness to neighbor Russia, with which North Korea traditionally maintains good relations.

Because of the North Korean nuclear and missile tests, the United Nations has imposed severe sanctions on the isolated country. Tens of thousands of North Korean guest workers, who are an important source of income for North Korea, are threatened with leaving Russia. Both sides want to prevent that.

Following their meeting, the Kremlin chief will travel to the “Silk Road” summit in Beijing, where North Korea will also play a role in his talks with China's head of state and party, Xi Jinping.

Putin wants nuclear disarmament and fewer sanctions

Like the USA, Russia is interested in the nuclear disarmament of the neighboring country. At the same time, Moscow is in return for a concession on the nuclear program for a relaxation of the sanctions against Pyongyang. Kim is likely to demand security guarantees on his first visit to the nuclear power Russia, should he agree to disarmament steps.

Kim's summit with Trump in Vietnam at the end of February was prematurely canceled. Both had entered the talks with maximum demands and had not been able to agree on key issues relating to North Korea's nuclear disarmament. Nevertheless, they rated the meeting positively afterwards. Just recently, Trump also declared another summit possible.

North Korea criticizes US maneuvers with South Korea

However, new tensions cannot be overlooked. A few hours before the summit with Putin, North Korea criticized current military exercises by South Korea and the USA. The air maneuvers endangered relations between the Korean states, said a North Korean spokesman and announced "appropriate countermeasures by our army," as the state news agency KCNA reported.

The US and South Korea's military exercise could "not hide the aggressive, offensive and contentious nature of their hostile actions," said the spokesman for the North Korean Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the country. By changing the code name of the exercise in South Korea, both states would suggest that the maneuver had been reduced in scope - but this was not the case.

Kim came back in the armored special train

The ruler Kim had crossed the border between North Korea and Russia with his armored special train on Wednesday. Hours later he had arrived in the port city on the Pacific and was received with military honors. He expressed the expectation for "successful and useful talks" with Putin. North Korea's rulers will stay in Vladivostok on Friday and will not return home until Saturday.

Russia invited Kim back in May last year. The last time there was a summit between the leaders of Russia and North Korea was in 2011. The late Kim Jong Il - the father of the current ruler - had met with the then Kremlin chief Dmitri Medvedev. (dpa)

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