North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will depart for a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin “soon,” according to a brief article published by the DPRK’s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Tuesday.
The article did not provide further information on Kim’s trip, though he is likely headed to Vladivostok in the Russian Far East, previous NK News reporting indicates.
“Kim Jong Un… will soon pay a visit to the Russian Federation at the invitation of H.E. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, president of the Russian Federation,” the KCNA article reads. “They will have talks during the visit.”
Although the time and location of the summit have yet to be officially announced, photographs taken at Vladivostok’s Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) on Monday showed possible preparations for the meeting.
The images show Russian and North Korean flags lined up in one of the campus buildings, with extra security measures also being put into place.
“They currently are making some preparations for the summit in university’s sports complex (known as Building S),” a source told NK News, adding the building had previously been used for other high-profile events.
The university is located on Russky Island off the coast of Vladivostok, and the flight from Pyongyang to the Russian Far Eastern city is around 90 minutes.
One expert told NK News the university would likely be an ideal summit venue due to its location as well as existing links to the Russian President.
“The FEFU campus can indeed be called Putin’s Eastern residence,” Deputy Director for Research at FEFU’s School of Regional and International Studies Artyom Lukin told NK News.
“FEFU’s campus on Russky Island off Vladivostok was built in 2012 on Putin’s personal orders. He likes this place and comes here almost every year, usually in early autumn.”
Putin tends to stay on campus during his visits, Lukin said, “in one of the guest houses which have presidential suites.”
The news of Kim’s upcoming visit coincides with North Korea’s Minister of the People’s Armed Forces departing Pyongyang to take part in the 8th Moscow Conference on International Security.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Feature image: Rodong Sinmun