SEOUL (BLOOMBERG)- Russia is preparing for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's first summit with President Vladimir Putin, setting the stage for consultations between the long-time allies after Mr Kim's nuclear talks with the United States broke down.
Russian officials told a South Korean diplomatic delegation visiting Moscow this week that plans were being made for a summit but offered no details on a time or place, South Korea's Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday (April 16).
South Korea's Maeil Business Newspaper reported on Tuesday that Mr Putin and Mr Kim's summit will likely take place on April 24 in Vladivostok, before Mr Putin's April 26-27 visit to Beijing to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping. Maeil did not say where it got its information.
South Korea's Vice-Foreign Minister Cho Hyun met Russian First Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Vladimir Titov.
Mr Cho told reporters that both men thought the collapsed February summit between Mr Kim and President Donald Trump in Hanoi "was not a failure" and that denuclearisation talks should be pursued, South Korea's Yonhap News reported.
Russia, which wields veto power on the United Nations Security Council, has expressed repeated support for the reduction of sanctions that have crippled North Korea's economy.
It would be Mr Kim's first visit to Russia since taking power in 2011, as he calls for an end to the sanctions intended to punish North Korea for its nuclear arms programme. The severity of those penalties was a major factor in the collapse of his summit with Mr Trump, who wants Mr Kim to make greater disarmament commitments before receiving economic rewards.
The US and its allies have baulked at allowing the development of projects long sought by North Korea and currently blocked by sanctions - including an energy pipeline that would extend into Russia and regular train service across the Russian-North Korean border - until Pyongyang agrees to reduce its security threat.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in's office said it was not its place to confirm the date and location of any upcoming summit between Mr Putin and Mr Kim.