Kim-Putin summit announced

At Vladimir Putin's invitation, Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Kim Jong-un will pay a visit to the Russian Federation in the second half of April, the Kremlin announced Thursday, April 18th, through its website.

As the meeting is in the preparatory stage, so the exact date, time and place are not known, Dmitry Peskov, president's press secretary, told to reporters.

The summit scheduling options were under discussion in 2018, including a meeting on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in Russia’s Far Eastern city of Vladivostok in September 2018 but the parties were unable to arrange Putin-Kim meeting at the time. However, Russian authorities have stated on many occasions they are ready to welcome the DPRK leader at any time convenient for him. TASS

According to Yonhap News, speculation has been rising that the two leaders would hold their first summit in Russia's Far East city of Vladivostok next week when Putin travels to the Far East on his way to China for an international conference. Yonhap News

Meanwhile, Russian Presidential Aide Yuri Ushakov said that Putin will visit China to attend the Belt and Road forum scheduled to take place in Beijing on April 26-27. TASS

As the timing of the long-awaited summit, George Toloraya, Director of the Center for Russian Strategy in Asia at the Institute of Economics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said on the radio Sputnik as follows:

"It will be very timely. After the failure of the Hanoi summit, Russia's role is claimed as a kind of catalyst for the negotiation process in order to try to get it off the ground. And it’s not by chance that the Americans are showing such interest to us now. We would like to understand how we can help the dialogue process develop. Steve Bigan, the US DOS special representative for relations with the DPRK, is in Moscow." Moscow needs Pyongyang’s support, he also noted. Ria Novosti

As for the implication of the Ko-Ru summit, Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Zhang Hanhui said to journalists, "The upcoming visit of the Korean leader to Russia is a very important event. Russia has a very important, positive impact on the Korean Peninsula. Russia has made a very important contribution to maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, to resolving the Korean nuclear problem." Ria Novosti

The second summit of the USA and the DPRK, which was held in Hanoi on February 27-28, ended without concrete agreements. US President Donald Trump admitted that he was unable to reach an agreement with Kim Jong-un after the talks, but contacts between delegations will continue in the future. The US leader explained that the main differences related to the lifting of sanctions in exchange for freezing the DPRK nuclear missile program. The first summit of Kim Jong-un and Trump was held last year in Singapore.

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