DPRK leader Kim Jong Un in his first meeting on Russian soil on Wednesday told government officials it would not be his last visit to the country, and that the trip was “only the first step,” according to an official report from the local Primorye Administration.
Kim’s armored train arrived at Khasan Station just across the DPRK-Russia border at 1030 local time, the report said, where he was greeted by top Russian officials.
Among them were vice foreign minister Igor Morgulov, Far East Development Minister Alexander Kozlov, Primorye Governor Oleg Kozhemyako, and Russian ambassador to the DPRK Alexander Matsegora, the report said.
An image included with the report showed Kim sitting down with Kozlov as his direct counterpart in the talks indoors at Khasan.
A video posted to Kozhemyako’s Instagram showed North Korean officials behind Kim disembarking the train, including foreign minister Ri Yong Ho and vice foreign minister Choe Son Hui.
Also there were General Staff of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) Ri Yong Gil, and vice-chairmen of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) Central Committee Kim Phyong Hae and O Su Yong.
According to the Primorye Administration’s report, Kim said he was “glad to be on Russian soil.”
Kozlov responded by saying “we hope that this visit will remain in your heart as a warm memory.”
The report noted that Kim Jong Un “answered that this visit to Russia is not the last.”
“This is only the first step,” he was quoted as having said.
A subsequent report from the Primorye Administration provided additional quotes from Kim, saying he plans to visit again in the future “based on friendly relations with your President.”
“I heard a lot of good things about your country and dreamed of visiting it for a long time,” he was also quoted as having said during the stop in Khasan, adding that “seven years have passed since I headed the country, and only now I was able to come to Russia.”
Kim Jong Un will arrive in Vladivostok on later in the day, the report added, with Google maps suggesting the drive from Khasan to the city takes close to four hours.
North Korean state media announced earlier Wednesday that Kim Jong Un had departed for Russia “at early dawn” that day, reporting that he was accompanied by the same officials seen at the platform at Khasan.
A Kremlin official the previous day confirmed Putin would meet Kim on Thursday.
“I will meet you later,” Kim said as his train left Khasan | Video: Instagram of Primorye Governor Oleg Kozhemyako
Kim’s schedule just after his arrival Vladivostok – likely between 1500 and 1900 local time, according to road closures officially announced around the station – is unclear, though there is speculation he may meet Putin for initial talks over dinner.
Kim is expected to stay in Russia until Friday, while Putin will depart for Beijing late Thursday to attend the Belt and Road Forum – where a group of top North Korean officials are also set to attend.
The summit on Thursday will take place at the Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) on Russky Island just off the southern tip of Vladivostok, where preparations have been underway for the last week.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured image: Administration of Primorsky Krai
Join the influential community of members who rely on NK News original news and in-depth reporting.
Subscribe to read the remaining 583 words of this article.