North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in the Russian city of Vladivostok on Wednesday for a summit he is likely to use to seek support from Russian President Vladimir Putin while Pyongyang’s nuclear talks with Washington are in limbo.
The armoured train carrying Kim — on his first official visit to Russia — pulled into the quayside station in Vladivostok, on the Pacific Ocean, a few hours after crossing from North Korea into Russia.
After a brief delay while the door of Kim’s carriage was lined up with a red carpet laid out on the platform, the door opened and a smiling Kim stepped out.
Earlier, at a stop on the border, Kim told Russian state television he was hoping for useful and successful discussions with Putin.
“I hope that we can discuss concrete questions about peace negotiations on the Korean peninsula, and our bilateral relations,” he said through an interpreter.
Kim will sit down for talks with Putin on Thursday at a university campus on an island just off Vladivostok. It will be the first summit between the two leaders, and the standoff over Pyongyang’s nuclear programme will top the agenda, according to a Kremlin foreign policy aide.
The meeting comes two months after a summit in Vietnam between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump ended in failure, leaving the North Korean leader looking elsewhere for international support and relief from sanctions.
For Putin the summit is an opportunity to show that Russia remains a major global player despite being under sanctions itself over its intervention in Ukraine and allegations that it meddled in U.S. elections.
But analysts predicted that Kim is unlikely to emerge from the summit with any substantial promises of sanctions relief. The meeting is likely to focus more on showing camaraderie.