Spurned by Washington, North Korea's Kim seeks a friend in Putin


This picture from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) taken on March 27, 2018 and released on March 28, 2018 shows Chinese President Xi Jinping shaking hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Beijing.

"In terms of bilateral relations, we have a lot to do to develop economic relations".

"As world attention is focused on the Korean Peninsula, there will be very meaningful dialogue for us to jointly assess the Korean peninsula policies and share, coordinate and study our views", Kim said.

Kim wants the U.S.to ease the sanctions to reciprocate for some partial disarmament steps he took previous year.

In this Wednesday, April 24, 2019, photo, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, foreground right, attends a welcoming ceremony in Vladivostok, Russia.

"They carelessly trample on the norms and principles of global law, resort to blackmail, sanctions and pressure, and try to force their values and dubious ideals on entire countries and populations", said Mr Putin, who is heading to China after the talks for another summit. Last week, it tested a new weapon and demanded that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo be removed from the nuclear talks.

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The two men embarked on a day of talks on an island off the Russian Pacific city of Vladivostok two months after Kim's summit with U.S. President Donald Trump ended in disagreement, cooling hopes of a breakthrough in the decades-old nuclear row.

In brief public remarks before the talks, the two leaders expressed hope the summit will help move forward the reconciliation process in the Korean Peninsula.

Kim, on his first visit to Russian Federation as North Korean leader, is meeting Putin for the first time. Russian Federation opposes the west's sanctions-led approach but also, like China, wants to see North Korea roll back its nuclear efforts. Still, the summit could enable Putin to try to increase his influence in regional politics and the standoff over Pyongyang's nuclear program. He noted that the Kremlin would try to help "create preconditions and a favorable atmosphere for reaching solid agreements on the problem of the Korean Peninsula". Wary of a possible Russian turnaround, the State Department sent its envoy for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, to Moscow last week to push for the country's full denuclearization.

Among the issues likely to be on the table is the fate of some 10,000 North Korean labourers working in Russian Federation and due to leave by the end of this year under sanctions.

Like Beijing, Moscow has been cautious with North Korea, with which it shares a border, and does not want to see regime change that could usher in US influence. Pyongyang, for its part, covets Russia's electricity supplies and investment to modernise its dilapidated Soviet-built industrial plants, railways and other infrastructure.

Vladivostok, a city of more than half a million on the Sea of Japan, faced gridlock on its roads as traffic was blocked in the city centre due to Kim's visit. The authorities have temporarily closed the waters around Russky Island to all maritime traffic.