Thursday, May 30, 2024
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Kim Jong Un is on his way to Russia to meet Vladimir Putin

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may be heading to Russia by train for a possible meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to CNN.

Neither Russia nor North Korea have officially confirmed the meeting, but Putin reportedly arrived in the eastern Russian city of Vladivostok on Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to state TV Russia 24.

After US officials last week warned that Kim and Putin were expected to meet as arms talks between their two countries progress, media reports suggested they would meet, although the exact date and location of the meeting are unknown.

If the meeting takes place it would mark Kim’s first foreign trip since the Covid-19 pandemic. With its borders sealed because of that for much of the past three years, North Korea has only recently begun to relax travel restriction.

It would also only be Kim’s 10th trip since assuming power in 2011. All of those came in 2018 and 2019, as the North Korean leader engaged in negotiations over his nuclear weapons and missile programs in three meetings with then-US President Donald Trump – one in Singapore, one in Hanoi and one in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating North and South Korea.

Kim also made four trips to China over those two years to meet with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, and he met once with Putin in Vladivostok in April 2019. The remaining trip was to the DMZ in 2018 to meet with then-South Korean President Moon Jae-in. The North Korea leader is said to prefer traveling in an upscale armored train – as did his father before him – but rail travel accounts for less than half of his foreign trips. Three of this nine trips have been made in planes and two, both to the DMZ, by car.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu also visited Pyongyang in July in an attempt to convince it to sell artillery ammunition.

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