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Dagyum Ji is a senior NK News correspondent based in Seoul. She previously worked for Reuters TV.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Monday said he expects Chinese President Xi Jinping to visit North Korea and Kim Jong Un to visit Russia “in the near future.”
Speaking at a Cabinet meeting, the South Korean President said Pompeo’s visit had resulting in conditions that would allow a second U.S.-DPRK summit to take place “expeditiously.”
The South Korean President urged his key aides to “strive for close cooperation between South Korea and the U.S. so that a second North Korea-U.S. summit can take place at the possible earliest date and huge progress on denuclearization and peace process of the Korean peninsula can be achieved.”
Moon said a “new order” had been established on the Korean peninsula, raising the possibility of a potential summit between Xi and Kim in Pyongyang as well as between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Kim in Russia.
“Apart from second North-U.S. summit, chairman Kim Jong Un’s travel to Russia and President Xi Jinping’s travel to North Korea are expected to take place in the near future,” he said, adding there was a chance a DPRK-Japan summit could also go ahead.
Friday saw Russian Federation Council Chairperson Valentina Matviyenko tell South Korean officials in Seoul that Pyongyang and Moscow have been discussing “the date and location” of Kim’s visit to Russia.
Matviyenko met the North Korean leader last month, during a visit to Pyongyang to mark the 70th anniversary of the country’s founding.
Putin invited Kim to visit Russia in May, reaffirming in August that he was ready to meet the DPRK leader “at an early date to discuss urgent issues of bilateral relations and important matters of the region.”
Should Kim decide to make a visit, it will represent the first by a North Korean leader to Russia since Kim’s father, the late Kim Jong Il, visited in August 2011.
Meanwhile, DPRK vice foreign minister Choe Son Hui arrived in Moscow on Saturday after a trip to Beijing.
The Russian embassy in Pyongyang last Friday said Choe was set to visit Moscow to participate in bilateral talks on the situation of the Korean peninsula as well as a vice foreign ministerial-level meeting between China, North Korea, and Russia.
Last Saturday saw the Kremlin-run TASS news agency bilateral and trilateral consultations would be held, respectively, on Monday and Tuesday, citing an unnamed representative of the Russian diplomatic mission in the DPRK.
Vice Minister of Chinese Foreign Affairs and Special Representative of the Chinese Government on the Korean Peninsular Affairs Kong Xuanyou and Russian deputy foreign minister Igor Morgulov will serve Choe’s counterparts.
Choe and Kong held bilateral negotiations last Friday in Beijing, DPRK state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported, at which both “agreed to further strengthen communication and cooperation.”
The visit to China by a top North Korean diplomat comes less a month after Beijing’s top legislator and third-ranking Communist Party official Li Zhanshu met Kim Jong Un during a trip to the DPRK.
March saw KCNA report that Kim had invited Xi to visit the DPRK “at a convenient time” and that the invitation had been “pleasantly accepted” by the Chinese President.
Should Xi travel to Pyongyang, the trip would represent the first by a Chinese leader since then-President Hu Jintao visited the DPRK in 2005.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured Image: KCNA