North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, April 25 Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov told Russian media on Tuesday.
The Kremlin staffer added that the announcement for the exact date of the summit was withheld at the request of Pyongyang.
“The date is April 25. Our president will hold talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Vladivostok who will pay a visit to our country. That meeting will be the first contact between our president and the North Korean leader,” Ushakov said in comments carried by Russia’s Tass news agency.
“We did that due to an agreement with our North Korean counterparts not to hand over information about the upcoming meeting to the media, and we did observe that agreement strictly.”
According to the Russian outlet, the Russian delegation will be made up of numerous high ranking officials including Prime Minister Yuri Trutnev, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Transport Minister Yevgeny Dietrich, Minister for the Development of Russia’s Far East Alexander Kozlov, Russian Railways CEO Oleg Belozerov and Deputy Energy Minister Anatoly Yanovsky.
Russian media also indicated Kim and Putin will first meet face-to-face, with further meetings including the two sides’ respective delegations set to follow.
North Korean media also confirmed on Tuesday local time that Kim would meet with Putin, though did not give an exact date or location for the meeting.
But several reports indicate the summit will be held at Vladivostok’s Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU), where planning seems underway to ready the venue for the talks.
The meeting will be Kim’s first with his Russian counterpart, while the last major summit between North Korea and Russia was in 2011.
With talks between Washington and Pyongyang seemingly at a standstill following a failed summit in Hanoi, North Korea could be looking for other ways to reduce pressure from the current UN sanctions regime.
“North Korea is looking to Russia as another option to help relieve sanctions. Russia can lobby the U.S. on North Korea’s behalf,” Ken Gause, a DPRK leadership expert at the CNA told NK News.
“It can potentially provide some amount of aid. It is another voice in the international community and in the UN advocating for sanctions relief. As for the long-term, Putin has a desire to increase Russia’s footprint in northeast Asia.”
Gause added that the summit is fundamentally “all about economics and how that figures into the strategic calculus of Moscow and Pyongyang.”
And while international sanctions on North Korea are a hurdle to significant trade, Gause said that Kim is likely hoping the sanctions regime will be eroded over time, potentially opening the door to more trade and Russian investment.
Join the influential community of members who rely on NK News original news and in-depth reporting.
Subscribe to read the remaining 449 words of this article.
Featured Image: Kremlin by larrywkoester on 2005-06-26 12:40:42