Moscow, April 18: Weeks after the failed second round of US-North Korea summit with United States President Donald Trump, the North's supreme leader Kim Jong-un would be travelling to Russia later this month to attend a high-level meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The development was confirmed by Kremlin on Thursday.
The Kremlin said in a brief statement that Kim will visit Russia "in the second half of April" on Putin's invitation, but gave no further details. Russian media have been abuzz in recent days with rumors about the rare meeting between the leaders. Kim Jong-Un Warns of 'Dark and Dangerous Future' As North Korea, U.S. Negotiators at an Impasse.
Putin is set to visit China later this month, and some media speculated that he could meet with Kim in Vladivostok, the far eastern port city near the border with North Korea.
Kim said last week that he is open to a third summit with U.S. President Donald Trump, but set the year's end as a deadline for Washington to offer mutually acceptable terms for a deal. The North Korean leader blamed the collapse of his February summit with Trump on what he described as unilateral demands by the U.S.
For Kim, the meeting may allow him to expand his options in talks with Trump and also balance the influence of China, the main ally and sponsor of the communist North.
Moscow maintained close ties with Pyongyang during the Soviet era, building dozens of factories and key infrastructure, sending supplies and providing weapons for the North Korean military. Those ties withered after the 1991 Soviet collapse, when Moscow cold-shouldered former Soviet allies amid the nation's economic meltdown.
(With PTI inputs)