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Putin, Kim meet for 1st time in Vladivostok

KIM JONG UN IN RUSSIA20190425124718_l

Moscow, April 25 (IANS) Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un came face-to-face for the first time ever in Vladivostok on Thursday, where the two leaders are slated to kick-off a summit.

Putin greeted Kim after he exited a Mercedes limousine. The two shook hands and posed for pictures as they appeared to exchange a few words, CNN reported.

The two leaders then entered a building at the Far Eastern Federal University, where the they will hold the summit which is the first high-level meeting between the two nations since 2011, when Kim’s late father, Kim Jong-il, met with the then-President of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev, in eastern Siberia.

The summit and subsequent delegation-level meetings are expected to focus on finding a peaceful resolution to the issue of Pyongyang’s denuclearization and efforts at reducing cross-border tensions on the Korean peninsula, reports Efe news.

The summit will also touch on bilateral issues between two nations who have previously enjoyed a much closer relationship.

They were allies during the Cold War, a period during which the Soviet economic support effectively subsidised the existence of the North Korean regime.

Upon his arrival in Vladivostok on Wednesday, Kim Jong-un said he hoped his meeting with Putin would be successful and that during the talks he hopes address issues related to the problems in Korean peninsula and the development of bilateral relations between Moscow and Pyongyang.

According to the Kremlin, the two leaders will focus their meeting on denuclearization efforts of the Korean peninsula at a time when talks between Washington and Pyongyang have been stalled following the failure of a summit in Hanoi in February between Kim and US President Donald Trump.

Putin is the sixth world leader to meet Kim Jong-un since he took control of North Korea in 2011.

Besides Putin and Trump, Kim Jong-un has also met Chinese President Xi Jinping, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong.