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Leaders of N. Korea, Russia planning summit: reports

TOKYO/MOSCOW, (Yonhap) -- Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il are planning to hold their first meeting later this month or early next month in the Russian Far East, news reports claimed late Thursday.

Citing local officials and Russian public security officials, Kyodo News reported that the two countries are considering having a summit around next Thursday on the outskirts of Vladivostok or in the Khasan region of Russia, near the border with North Korea.

Earlier Thursday, PrimaMedia, a news agency for Russia's Far East, also reported Medvedev and Kim might meet in Vladivostok next week. It said it had confirmed the information through various sources, but didn't provide specifics.

Medvedev plans to visit the eastern part of the country between next Wednesday and Friday to check up on preparations for next year's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Vladivostok.

If the Medvedev-Kim meeting materializes, the leaders are likely to discuss Russia's economic aid to North Korea, ways to revive the stalled six-nation talks on Pyongyang's nuclear programs, and a possible increase in Moscow's investment in development of Rason, a special economic zone in North Korea.

Kim last traveled to Russia in August 2002, when he met then-President Vladimir Putin in Vladivostok.

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