Featured image: KCNA
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Colin Zwirko is an NK News correspondent based in Seoul.
Stepping off his armored train at the city’s main station, Kim was greeted by Russia’s Far East Development Minister Alexander Kozlov, whom he previously met in the morning during a brief stop at the border.
Kim and Kozlov then walked out of the station to receive a welcome from a military band and greet other officials also seen earlier, including vice foreign minister Igor Morgulov, Primorye Governor Oleg Kozhemyako, and Russian ambassador to the DPRK Alexander Matsegora.
The North Korean leader then briefly spoke with Morgulov and Kozhemyako on the street before boarding his Mercedes S-Class stretch limousine, while others boarded a Maybach 62 model.
Both have been used repeatedly in summits on foreign soil in the past year and which are believed to have been transported the previous day via an Air Koryo cargo plane.
Over a dozen large vans were also seen outside the station prior to Kim’s arrival, likely to be used to transport other members of the North Korean delegation and summit-related personnel.
The DPRK leader’s motorcade then traveled directly to the site of the summit on Russky Island, around 17 kilometers from the main station just off the southern tip of Vladivostok, according to a correspondent with Russia’s TASS News Agency.
Kim and others in his delegation are expected to stay in guesthouses at the Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU), where he is set to meet Putin on Thursday.
At around 1030 local time Wednesday, Kim stopped briefly at Khasan just across the border in Russia, disembarking the train and holding a meeting with government officials.
There, Kim reportedly told the officials he had “heard a lot of good things about your country and dreamed of visiting it for a long time.”
He also said he would visit Russia again in the future based on a strong relationship with Putin, according to a report from the Primorsky Krai Administration, adding that the trip was “only the first step.”
Speaking to a reporter from the Russia 24 network outside Khasan Station, Kim also provided some impromptu comments on the upcoming summit.
“My visit will be very useful and successful,” the DPRK leader told the reporter in the televised report.
“I believe that meeting with your President will be an opportunity to have very useful discussions, to exchange views on many issues and about the shared managing and maintenance of stability of the region,” he added.
The North Korean leader conducted a rare press interview with Russian TV this morning
The summit will be the first between leaders of the two countries since Kim Jong Il also traveled to the Far East in 2011 to meet then-President Dmitry Medvedev.
Kim Jong Un is expected to stay in Vladivostok until at least Friday, meeting with Putin and other top officials for talks and other events at FEFU and visiting various sites around the city over the course of his stay.
Putin is expected to depart Thursday night to attend the Belt and Road Forum – where a group of top North Korean officials is also set to attend.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured image: KCNA