Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un hold first summit
Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was “pleased” with the outcome of his summit meeting Thursday in the Russian city of Vladivostok with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, saying he would discuss the results with China and the United States.
“We are all pleased with the outcome of the talks -- both I and my colleagues,” the Russian leader said. “Chairman Kim Jong Un is a fairly open person, leading a free discussion on all issues that were on the agenda.”
Asked if Kim would be willing to continue his contact with the US, Putin said the leader in Pyongyang would be guided by his “national interests,” but added that “we can’t resolve anything without talks” when it came to the crisis on the Korean peninsula. Putin, who travels next to Beijing, said he would discuss the summit with his Chinese counterparts.
“Of course, I will speak tomorrow in Beijing with the leadership of the People’s Republic of China, but we will also openly and frankly discuss today's meeting with the American leadership,” he said. “There are no secrets here, Russia's position is always open, there are no conspiracies.” Putin said Kim himself requested that his position be relayed to the US side.
“Moreover, Kim Jong Un himself asked us to inform the American side about his position, about the issues that arose for him in connection with the processes that are taking place on and around the Korean Peninsula,” the Russian president said.
It just wouldn’t be a Kim Jong Un summit without a coin to commemorate the occasion.
Photographers at the banquet spotted cases with the medals in laid out at each table place.
Perhaps the most well-known coin was the one commemorating the Trump and Kim Singapore summit. It was sold by the White House Gift Shop ahead of the meeting and was a resounding success, attracting over 1,000 orders in the first day.
That coin, in silver, white, red and blue, sparked controversy for referring to Kim as North Korea’s “Supreme Leader,” a title not usually used by the US.
In Hanoi, people lined up outside the Vietnam Stamps Company from 6 a.m. -- three-and-a-half hours before the shop opened -- to get their hands on one of 500 limited-edition coins commemorating the second summit between Trump and Kim
Each of the coins cost 500,000 Vietnamese dong (about $22) and sold out in three hours. On the front, the coin features the flags of the US and North Korea, embossed in silver, along with a dove and the slogan “World Peace.”
Putin is treating Kim to a host of classic Russian dishes for dinner, according to a copy of the menu posted by the Russian state news agency TASS.
The two will be eating:
- Crab salad
- Pelmeni (Russian dumplings) with deer
- Caramelized apple sorbet
- Cod fillet with dill sauce,
- Khabarovsk beef with baked eggplants
- Chocolate cake
Talks between North Korean and Russian officials have ended after about three and a half hours, according to Russian state news agency TASS.
The two leaders will now attend a formal reception, followed by dinner.
Some analysts believe that Putin's meeting with Kim is something of a coup, following the collapse of the Hanoi summit and the current tenuous status of North Korea-US talks.
"Putin has been trying to get the North Korean leader to Russia for a long time," said Andrey Kortunov of the Russian International Affairs Council.
But Robert Kelly, a professor of international relations at South Korea's Pusan National University, thinks Kim is "shopping around for a deal -- playing the various actors off each other, looking for wins and bargains along the way."
"That we all seem to think it's all about Trump is our own American blindness. Russia can't give Kim much -- beyond a safe place to park illicit income. The trip is more about stirring other interlocutors into renewed talks/concessions," Kelly said.
Kim Jong Un called his visit to Russia "a great joy" during the two leaders' summit Thursday, as the two sides' delegations prepared to meet behind closed doors.
"I would like to offer again a sincere gratitude to Mr. President for making time in his busy schedule and come thousands of miles from the capital city of Moscow to here to give us time for a great conversation."
"We are visiting Russia this time to meet in person with President Putin and exchange our opinions. It is to exchange our mutual views on Korean Peninsula and this region’s political landscape which is a great focus of the world’s attention. It is also to work for stabilization of this regions political landscape and to deeply share opinion on issues that pertains to jointly managing the political landscape in the future. Another purpose was to exchange opinions on the issues like growing and developing our two nation’s traditional relationship into one that is more solid and constructive according to the demand of the new century."
Philip Yun, the executive director of the anti-nuclear weapons NGO Ploughshares Fund, said he was surprised that denuclearization was high on the agenda for the Putin-Kim summit because Russia has little leverage in dealing with North Korea.
He described the summit as "long on symbolism."
"Kim Jong Un is trying to figure out what his options are and trying to increase his leverage with the United States," Yun told CNN.
Yun said the summit offers Putin an opportunity to insert Russia into the conversation when it comes to resolving the North Korean nuclear crisis, as Moscow risked being left on the sidelines after last year's flurry of diplomatic activity between North Korea, South Korea, the United States and China.