Tue, 16 Jul 2019

North Korea has confirmed that leader Kim Jong Un will visit Russia soon.

The official KCNA news agency said on April 23 that Russian President Vladimir Putin extended the invitation for the visit with Kim, though it did not say exactly when the meeting would take place.

They (the two leaders) will have talks during the visit, KCNA said.

In a statement issued on its website on April 18, the Kremlin said Kim plans to visit Russia 'in the second half of April.'

Putin is due to visit China to attend the April 26-27 Belt and Road Forum in Beijing -- a gathering that brings together heads of state from dozens of countries to discuss the building of roads and maritime trading routes across the world.

Some media organizations have speculated that Putin could meet with Kim around that time in Vladivostok, the far eastern port city near the border with North Korea.

If it takes place, the meeting would come as U.S. President Donald Trumps administration is pushing for a deal to end nuclear tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Two earlier summits between Kim and Trump failed to reach an agreement on a denuclearization deal.

The Trump administration has suggested the possibility of a third summit, but North Korea on April 18 demanded that Washington remove Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from any future negotiations.

U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun was recently in Moscow to meet Russian officials to discuss ways to advance a 'final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea.'

In March, the United States imposed fresh sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear weapons program.

With reporting by KCNA, TASS, Reuters, and AFP.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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