Images of Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s leader, left, and Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, are displayed at the Ganghwa Peace Observatory on Ganghwa Island, South Korea. (Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg)

Russia Prepares for Kim’s First Summit With Putin

(Bloomberg) -- Russia is preparing for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s first summit with President Vladimir Putin, setting the stage for consultations between the long-time allies after Kim’s nuclear talks with the U.S. broke down.

Russian officials told a South Korean diplomatic delegation visiting Moscow this week that plans were being made for a summit but offered no details on a time or place, South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

Russia Prepares for Kim’s First Summit With Putin

South Korea’s Maeil Business Newspaper reported Tuesday that Putin and Kim’s summit will likely take place April 24 in Vladivostok, before Putin’s April 26-27 visit to Beijing to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Maeil didn’t say where it got its information.

South Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyun met with Russian First Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Vladimir Titov. Cho told reporters both men thought the collapsed February summit between Kim and President Donald Trump in Hanoi “was not a failure” and that denuclearization talks should be pursued, South Korea’s Yonhap News reported.

Russia, which wields veto power on the United Nations Security Council, has expressed repeated support for the reduction of sanctions that have crippled North Korea’s economy.

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It would be Kim’s first visit to Russia since taking power in 2011, as he calls for an end to the sanctions intended to punish North Korea for its nuclear arms program. The severity of those penalties was a major factor in the collapse of his summit with Trump, who wants Kim to make greater disarmament commitments before receiving economic rewards.

The U.S. and its allies have balked at allowing the development of projects long sought by North Korea and currently blocked by sanctions -- including an energy pipeline that would extend into Russia and regular train service across the Russian-North Korean border -- until Pyongyang agrees to reduce its security threat.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s office said it wasn’t its place to confirm the date and location of any upcoming summit between Putin and Kim.

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