Putin and Kim Jong Un will meet in Russia on Thursday
Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will meet for the first time in Russia on Thursday, according to state news agencies in the country.
The one-on-one negotiations will happen on April 25 in the eastern port of Vladivostok. They will be followed by extended talks between delegations, Russian presidential aide Yury Ushakov was reported as saying on Tuesday by state news agency RIA-Novosti .
He added that Putin and Kim do not plan to sign any agreements or make a joint statement.
It will be the first meeting between the leaders, said Ushakov , according to TASS news agency.
Cold War allies reunited?
The meeting between the Cold War allies comes as Moscow steps up efforts to increase its influence in the region, and Kim looks for support in the face of sanctions from the West.
Indeed Russia is the only country other than China that presents a ” semblance of being an ally ” to the isolated North Korean regime, according to Bruce Bechtol , a professor of political science at Angelo State University who has authored several books on North Korea.
” During the Cold War, Russia subsidized everything in North Korea. North Korea was not a poor country, it was simply a subsidized member of what we can now call the Soviet Union’s satellite states, ” he told CNN.
Tricky timing for US
The meeting also comes at a delicate moment in the nuclear negotiations between North Korea and the United States, which have stalled since the last round of talks in Hanoi fell apart earlier this year.
The summit will come just a week after North Korea’s foreign ministry called for US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to be replaced in any further negotiations between the two countries.
In a statement released by the state-run Korean Central News Agency last week, foreign ministry official Kwon Jong Gun said Pompeo had been ” letting loose reckless remarks and sophism of all kinds against us every day. ”
Kwon said Kim had taken a ” principled stand ” on the talks with the US in a recent speech to the North Korea’s rubberstamp parliament.
The official complained that Pompeo had characterized Kim’s speech as being about finishing ” working level negotiation between (North Korea) and the US by the end of the year ” — an interpretation he described as ” talking nonsense. ”
North Korea has been pushing for more sanctions relief in exchange for denuclearization , while the US has demanded greater evidence that the country is prepared to reduce its nuclear arsenal. The disagreement is believed to be the primary reason the Hanoi talks came to an abrupt end.
CNN’s Mary Ilyushina and Nathan Hodge reported from Moscow, Sheena McKenzie wrote in London. Steve George, Euan McKirdy and Jason Kwon contributed to this report