Kim Jong Un Arrives In Vladivostok For First Summit With Putin
After a long journey estimated to have taken around nine hours, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un finally arrived in Vladivostok City in Russia for his planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. State television televised Kim's arrival showing him step out of his green-colored private train at a station in the eastern city.
Upon his arrival, Kim was greeted by a brass band and a number of state officials who had been waiting for him at the station. The Russian president was however not part of the welcoming committee. The upcoming event will be the first time that both leaders will be meeting in each other in person. Both leaders have revealed no plans of signing any agreements nor do they have any plans of issuing a joint statement to the public.
Kim arrived on the same train he had used to travel to Hanoi, Vietnam when he previously met with United States President Donald Trump. The train took off from a station near the North Korean border in Khasan and headed straight Vladivostok. According to local media reports, Kim apparently mentioned that he was happy to finally be on Russian soil.
The young South Korean leader also mentioned upon his arrival that he had brought the "warm feelings" of his people and that he hopes his visit will be a successful and useful one for both countries. Kim further elaborated that he wishes to discuss several issues with Russia's leader, including issues pertaining to the Korean Peninsula.
Kim and Putin officially held their meeting at the Far East Federal University on Russky Island in Vladivostok. While the details of their discussion have not yet been made public, reports have indicated that the topics may have included North Korea's denuclearization and issues pertaining to the two Koreas.
Kim's visit to Russia comes at the heels of the failed negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington. Trump's summit with the Korean leader did not end with an agreement and both countries are still at odds with the imposed trade sanctions and North Korea's denuclearization. The North Korean government even recently called on Trump to immediately replace US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with someone who was more "mature" and "careful" with their words.
Political analysts have speculated that Kim's visit to Russia may just be the young leader's way of assessing his options apart from negotiating with the United States. The country may also be seeking assistance from Russia, to help it pressure the United States to relieve sanctions. The imposed sanctions by the United States had become a major issue during Kim's summit with Trump, who had insisted that they would only lift sanction if North Korea fully shuts down its nuclear weapons program. Some analysts have also suggested that North Korea may be looking to establish a new partnership with Russia to lessen its economic reliance on China.