The first summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and the leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Kim Jong Un gets underway on Thursday. Kim arrived in Vladivostok to a red-carpet welcome – after a nine-hour train ride.
On the agenda – the DPRK’s nuclear weapons program and diplomatic ties.
CGTN’s Dan Ashby reports.
Via the power of an armored train, and then onto his stretch limo – the latest episode in the DPRK nuclear drama has just rolled into Russia.
DPRK Leader Kim Jong Un said this after his arrival:
“I have come to Russia with good feelings. I hope this visit will be successful and useful. I hope through the negotiations with dear President Putin I will be able to discuss certain questions of reconciliation on the Korean peninsula and development of relationships between our countries. My warm greetings to all the Russian people.”
Kim Jong Un arrives with his country’s economy under pressure from U.S. sanctions, and his talks with President Trump stalled. But in Vladimir Putin he may find a powerful friend.
President Putin will meet him on Vladivostok’s Russky island in their first-ever summit.
Kim needs urgent economic relief. Putin has already called on the US to ease sanctions first – in return for Kim destroying weapons facilities later.
Carnegie Moscow Center’s Alexander Gabuev offered this analysis:
“I think that Russia wants to message that it has a seat at the table and that Russia shouldn’t be neglected as a part of the ultimate solution, both because it’s a neighbor and has some economic cards, but also because it’s a UN Security Council permanent member.”
In Vladivostok, the flags are out, and they even altered the station so Kim’s limo could get out.
Because Russia is right on the DPRK’s doorstep it has much to gain.
Moscow has proposed building a trans-Korean gas pipeline and railway to cement its influence and spur growth.
Even Russian tour agencies are seeing growth in customers wanting to visit the DPRK.
But whatever the two leaders decide, the DPRK missile threat cannot be solved without agreement from Washington.
And in this city famous for its bridges, there are still gulfs to cross before this nuclear crisis is over.