Kremlin says Kim Jong Un will visit Russia this month

MOSCOW — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will visit Russia later this month, the Kremlin said Thursday, in a meeting that offers President Vladimir Putin an opportunity to emerge as a broker in the long-running nuclear standoff and raise Russia’s profile in regional affairs.

The Kremlin said in a brief statement Thursday 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 rumours about the first one-to-one meeting between the leaders.

Putin is set to visit China later this month, and some media speculated that he could meet with Kim during a stopover 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 Pyongyang to commit to give up its nuclear facilities, weapons and missiles. 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.

Russia was involved in the Chinese-led six-nation talks, aimed at persuading North Korea to abandon its nuclear programs in exchange for aid and security guarantees. The North withdrew from those talks in 2009.

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.

Shortly after his first election, Putin sought to re-invigorate ties with North Korea, visiting Pyongyang in July 2000 en route to a summit of the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations in Okinawa. In an apparent bid to steal the global limelight, Putin then boasted about securing a promise from then-leader Kim Jong Il to abandon North Korea’s missile program in exchange for foreign help in launching satellites, but he suffered a setback when Kim quickly disavowed his statement.

Despite the gaffe, Putin continued courting North Korean’s leader, who crossed Russia by train to visit Moscow in 2001. He again visited regions in Russia’s far east the following year, and made another trip across the border in 2011.

While Russian-North Korean military co-operation was stopped by the United Nations sanctions, Moscow supplied grain and provided humanitarian aid to the North, and tens of thousands of North Korean migrant labourers have worked in Russia’s underpopulated Far East.

The Kremlin has written off North Korea’s Soviet-era debts, but attempts at broader co-operation have stalled.

For many years, Moscow has touted the prospects of trans-Korean railway, natural gas pipeline and power lines — ambitious projects that would allow Russia to significantly increase its regional clout. No visible progress has been made.

Russia is interested in gaining broader access to North Korea’s mineral resources, including rare metals. Pyongyang needs Russia’s electricity supplies and wants to attract Russian investment to modernize the obsolescent Soviet-built industrial plants, railways and other infrastructure.

Vladimir Isachenkov, The Associated Press

Just Posted

Slow economic growth bad for Canada’s foreign policy goals: experts

OTTAWA — Canada’s slow economic growth and poor competitiveness are undercutting its… Continue reading

University of Calgary to slash payroll after post-secondary funding cuts

CALGARY — The University of Calgary is eliminating 250 management, faculty and… Continue reading

Notley kicked out of legislature for comment on election watchdog firing bill

EDMONTON — Alberta NDP Opposition Leader Rachel Notley has been kicked out… Continue reading

Trans Mountain received $320M in government subsidies in first half 2019: report

VANCOUVER — The Trans Mountain pipeline received $320 million in subsidies from… Continue reading

Red Deer ranked 10th most dangerous place in Canada

Red Deer is the 10th most dangerous place in Canada, based on… Continue reading

Central Albertans help families during holidays with Christmas Wish Breakfast

It takes a community to help a community. And Sunday morning at… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Nov. 19 The Mountview Sunnybrook Community Association will hold its AGM at… Continue reading

Andre Burakovsky scores twice, Avalanche beat Flames

Avalanche 3 Flames 2 CALGARY — Andre Burakovsky stayed red-hot with another… Continue reading

Slow economic growth bad for Canada’s foreign policy goals: experts

OTTAWA — Canada’s slow economic growth and poor competitiveness are undercutting its… Continue reading

University of Calgary to slash payroll after post-secondary funding cuts

CALGARY — The University of Calgary is eliminating 250 management, faculty and… Continue reading

Notley kicked out of legislature for comment on election watchdog firing bill

EDMONTON — Alberta NDP Opposition Leader Rachel Notley has been kicked out… Continue reading

Trans Mountain received $320M in government subsidies in first half 2019: report

VANCOUVER — The Trans Mountain pipeline received $320 million in subsidies from… Continue reading

Westerner Park staff members receive national recognition

Two Westerner Park employees were recognized at the Canadian Association of Fairs… Continue reading

Bombers, Ticats arrive in Calgary seeking to end Grey Cup dry spells

CALGARY — A long Grey Cup drought is about to end. The… Continue reading

Most Read