Putin Sent Message to North Korea Leader Kim During Lavrov Visit

(Bloomberg) -- President Vladimir Putin passed a message to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a visit to Pyongyang by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Peskov refused to say what was in the message during a conference call with reporters on Thursday, and declined to comment on the prospects for a possible meeting between Putin and Kim.

Lavrov told the North Korean leader that Russia would be “very glad” if Kim visited the country. Kim told him that the situation on the Korean peninsula was shifting rapidly toward dialogue, and that he appreciated Putin’s opposition to U.S. “hegemony,” according to Russia’s Interfax news service.

Lavrov’s first visit to Pyongyang since 2009 took place as preparations continue for a planned summit meeting between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump next month to try to resolve the confrontation over North Korea’s nuclear program. A top North Korean official is in the U.S. and met Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for dinner Wednesday, the highest-level talks between the two countries on American soil in 18 years.

Discussion on “solving the Korean Peninsula’s nuclear problem” must involve the lifting of sanctions on North Korea, Lavrov told his North Korean counterpart Ri Yong Ho before the meeting with Kim, state-run Tass news service reported. “It is impossible in one move to ensure denuclearization, that’s why certainly there should be some stages,” Lavrov said. 

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