The first round of negotiations between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vladivostok on Thursday lasted longer than planned. Mr. Kim traveled 684 km in an armored train to attend the meeting.
“We have a lot to do to develop trade and economic relations, and to develop humanitarian contacts,” the Russian president commented before the start of the meeting.
Putin congratulated Kim Jong Un on being reelected as the Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of North Korea on April 12, and added that it was “very nice” to see his North Korean colleague in Russia.
Contrary to his normal custom, Putin was not late for the talks, arriving first at the Far Eastern Federal University campus, and waiting more than half an hour for his North Korean colleague to arrive.
After two hours of negotiations, Putin said that the face to face discussion had been comprehensive. “We were able to talk about the history of our relations, we spoke about the present, and about the future development of bilateral ties. We also spoke, of course, about the situation on the Korean peninsula,” the Russian president noted.
“I hope that our talks will continue in the same vein, usefully and constructively,” Kim Jong Un responded.
“I came to Russia to exchange opinions on the current situation on the Korean peninsula – it is one of the most pressing problems on the current international agenda; to discuss ways to resolve this issue peacefully, and to exchange opinions on the development of our bilateral relations in accordance with the requirements of the new century,” Kim said.
This was Kim Jong Un’s first visit to Russia since he came to power in 2011, and his first bilateral meeting with Vladimir Putin. He was invited to visit in 2017, but delayed more than two years before accepting.