Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un shake hands while posing for a picture prior to their talks in Vladivostok. Picture: Alexander Zemlianichenko/Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un shake hands while posing for a picture prior to their talks in Vladivostok. Picture: Alexander Zemlianichenko/Reuters

Valdimir Putin, Kim Jong Un begin first official meeting in Vladivostok

By DPA Time of article published Apr 25, 2019

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Moscow - Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean

leader Kim Jong Un on Thursday began their first official meeting in

the Far Eastern Russian port city of Vladivostok.

"I'm happy to see you here," Putin told Kim, adding that he hoped he

could help resolve the dispute between the US and North Korea over

Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programme.

"We welcome your efforts on the development of inter-Korean dialogue

and on the normalization of North Korean-US relations," he added.

The two leaders were pictured shaking hands at the beginning of their

meeting under tight security on Russky island, part of a university

campus, before sitting down and smiling into the waiting cameras.

After the ceremonial greeting the two leaders were to hold one-on-one

talks followed by expanded talks, according to the Russian news

agency TASS. No formal statement or declaration were expected.

The talks were also to focus on economic cooperation between the two

countries.

They come as North Korea seeks allies after the failure of a summit

between US President Donald Trump and Kim in Hanoi in February.

Moscow and Pyongyang have traditionally had good relations.

The Washington wants Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons while

North Korea is seeking the lifting of international sanctions which

have stifled its economy.

However little progress has been made since Trump and Kim first met

in Singapore last year and tensions have continued to simmer.

North Korea this month demanded that US Secretary of State Mike

Pompeo be replaced as chief negotiator in their talks, saying he

should be replaced with someone "more mature."

And on Thursday Pyongyang threatened a "corresponding response" from

its army after the US and South Korea launched a two-week long series

of joint airforce drills earlier this week.

Pyongyang has long viewed joint military exercises by the two

countries as a provocation and a rehearsal for an invasion of North

Korea.

The latest drills were an "outright challenge" to the Panmunjom peace

declaration signed by North and South Korean leaders last year, a

spokesman from Pyongyang's reunification committee was quoted as

saying by state-run news agency KCNA.

dpa

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