The Korea Herald


Preparation underway in Vladivostok for Putin-Kim summit

By Park Han-na

Published : April 23, 2019 - 17:43

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Preparations are in full swing for the upcoming summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Vladivostok, with Pyongyang’s confirmation of the state visit Tuesday.

North Korea’s state-run airline landed at an airport in Vladivostok on Tuesday morning, hours after the Korean Central News Agency confirmed that Kim “will soon pay a visit to the Russian Federation at the invitation of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, president of the Russian Federation.”

In this March 2, photo, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un prepares to depart Dong Dang railway station in Dong Dang, Vietnamese border town. (AP-Yonhap) In this March 2, photo, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un prepares to depart Dong Dang railway station in Dong Dang, Vietnamese border town. (AP-Yonhap)

The two-sentence report did not elaborate on Kim’s schedule or the venue, but said “they will have talks during the visit.”

This will be Kim’s first summit with Putin. The last meeting between Russian and North Korean leaders took place in 2011 when the current North Korean leader’s father Kim Jong-il and then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev met in Ulan-Ude, the capital of Siberia’s Buryatia republic.

According to a Foreign Ministry official in Seoul, the Kremlin set three key agenda items for the Putin-Kim talks: development of bilateral relations between Russia and North Korea, denuclearization issues and regional cooperation.

Following the formal confirmation from the KCNA, Seoul’s Unification Ministry official said that the ministry expects the meeting of the two leaders to “help achieve goals of complete denuclearization and lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.”

Black Mercedes-Benz vehicles, which will be used by Kim were spotted entering Vladivostok’s Far Eastern Federal University on Tuesday after an Air Koryo transport plane and passenger aircraft carrying supplies and personnel landed at the airport in the morning.

The federal university on Russky Island has emerged as the most likely venue for the summit due to security reasons. Blocking a bridge to the island can provide full security for the leaders.

On Tuesday, Russian newspaper Kommersant said that Kim will arrive in Vladivostok by his special train Wednesday and hold a summit with Putin at the university the following day.

After wrapping up the summit, Kim and Putin may hold a one-on-one session and then an extended session with policy staff, as has been typical for summit events.

The North Korean leader is likely to leave Vladivostok after a tour of the city. The Primorsky Stage of the Mariinsky Theatre, the Pacific Fleet headquarters and factories producing milk or chocolate are among potential tour sites for Kim.

By Park Han-na (