North Korea’s Kim-Jong-Un to meet Putin this month

North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un [left] and Russian President Vladimir Putin [right]

North Korean Supreme leader Kim Jong Un will travel to Russia, later in this month and meet Russian President Putin, according to a Russian official report on Thursday.

The announcement coincided with a minute of discord in efforts by President Trump’s administration to reach a deal with North Korea to end nuclear tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Pyongyang said on Thursday it no longer wanted to deal with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and called for him to be replaced in communications by somebody more mature. That demand came hours after North Korea announced its first weapons test since the last summit between North Korean leader and Trump in Hanoi in February broke down with no agreement.

The pro-Kremlin Izvestia newspaper cited a diplomatic source on Wednesday as saying the meeting between Putin and Kim would likely take place next week in Vladivostok, a Far Eastern Russian city, before Putin flies on to an April 26-27 summit in China.

It added though that a sudden change of plan by the leader of the isolated North Korean state could not be ruled out.

The Kremlin gave no further details in a statement on its website or Twitter but has been saying for months that it was working on such a meeting.

As per reports, it was not clear how Kim might travel to the summit.

A North Korean official, Kim Chang Son, travelled to Vladivostok this week and was seen on Wednesday inspecting the Pacific city’s train station and making security checks, as reported by Russia’s RIA news agency on Thursday.

United States’ Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun was due in Moscow on Wednesday and Thursday to meet Kremlin officials to discuss ways to advance a “final, fully verified denuclearisation of Korean Peninsula”, Washington said on Tuesday.

The Trump-Kim meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam, the second summit between the two leaders, broke down over conflicting demands by Pyongyang for sanctions relief and by the United States for North Korea to abandon its nuclear programme. The following month Washington imposed a new round of sanctions on North Korea.

However, Trump administration officials have floated the possibility of a third summit.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Kootneeti Team

Melanie Romaro

Melanie Romaro is a Geopolitical Analyst at The Kootneeti. She holds a Masters degree in Political Science & International Relations from the State University of Colorado. She can be reached at melainieromaro@gmail.com

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