Apr 23, 2019 19:11 UTC
  • Putin to host North Korea's Kim in Russia

North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un will "soon" travel to Russia on his first ever meeting with President Vladimir Putin, state media say.

The official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said on Tuesday that Kim "will soon pay a visit to the Russian Federation at the invitation" of President Putin. "They will have talks during this visit."

KCNA did not specify when or where the two heads of state would meet.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday that Putin and Kim were on track to meet by the end of April. The Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov also said on Tuesday that Kim would meet Putin in the eastern city of Vladivostok on Thursday.

Footage filmed on Monday shows the arrival of the North Korean delegation in Vladivostok ahead of the summit between the Russian and the North Korean leaders. 

Speculation is that Kim will seek Russia's support in the standoff between North Korea and the West, the United States in particular, over sanctions. Economic cooperation between Pyongyang and Moscow is also expected to be on the trip's agenda.

The last meeting between the leaders of North Korea and Russia was in 2011, when then President Dmitry Medvedev met Kim's father, Kim Jong-il.

Moscow has relatively warm ties with Pyongyang. Russia has called for an ease in the international sanctions on North Korea.

While the Kremlin opposes North Korea's further developing its nuclear program, it is critical of Washington's use of sanctions against Pyongyang.

In late February, the North Korean leader and President Donald Trump of the United States met for the second time in Hanoi, Vietnam, where no agreement was reached. In their first summit last year, the two sides reached a vague denuclearization agreement.