May 23, 2019
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Putin holds 'substantive' talks in first summit with Kim

Vladivostok, Russia, Apr 25 (efe-epa).- Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, said he held substantive talks with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, during their first ever summit on Thursday.

Before a discussion with their respective delegations, the two leaders held a two-hour head-to-head meeting to discuss bilateral issues and the state of Pyongyang's nuclear disarmament, a process which has stalled since a summit in Hanoi between Kim and US president Donald Trump in February failed to yield an agreement.

"We have just had very substantive tête-à-tête talks. We have managed to discuss the history of our interstate relations, we have discussed their current state, about prospects for the development of bilateral ties," Putin said at the start of the expanded talks with Kim.

"We have, of course, addressed the situation on the Korean Peninsula. We have exchanged views on how and what should be done so that this situation has good prospects for improvement," the Russian president added.

In addition to Pyongyang's denuclearization, Putin and Kim discussed bilateral ties between their two countries, whose relationship has historically been much closer than in recent years.

They were allies during the Cold War, a period during which Soviet economic support effectively subsidized the existence of the Kim regime.

The summit is the first high-level meeting between the two nations since 2011, when Kim’s late father, Kim Jong-il, met with the then-president of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev, in eastern Siberia.

Kim said he had traveled to Vladivostok to "exchange views on the current situation on the Korean Peninsula, which is now one of the most pressing issues of the international agenda, to discuss ways of peaceful settlement of this issue and also to exchange views on developing our bilateral relations".

He thanked Putin for his hospitality, and said he hoped that the "useful and constructive" discussions would continue.

Addressing his Russian counterpart, Kim said, "We have just had a very substantive exchange of views tête-à-tête on the issues of mutual interests and pressing issues. I would like to thank you for time I spent with great pleasure."

Russia's ambassador to the European Union, Vladimir Chizhov, said the two leaders had also discussed the resumption of the stagnant Six Party Talks (which involved North and South Korea, Japan, the USA, Russia and China) to resolve the nuclear issue. North Korea had pulled out of those negotiations in 2009.

bsi-io/ks/ssk

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