Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met Thursday in their first-ever face-to-face meeting.
The two men met for nearly two hours on an island off the eastern Russian city of Vladivostok. After the talks, Putin described Kim as “quite open” and “thoughtful.”
The Russian leader said his country, just like the United States, supports the goal of removing nuclear weapons from the Korean Peninsula.
Putin said Kim confirmed his willingness to give up North Korea’s nuclear arms, but only if he first receives strong security guarantees. He added that such guarantees would require the agreement and support of other countries.
Such an effort would likely involve the six nations that took part in international talks on the denuclearization issue over the years. The six are North and South Korea, China, Japan, Russia and the United States.
Kim has held two face-to-face meetings with U.S. President Donald Trump. But the last Trump-Kim meeting ended with no agreements announced.
North Korea has sought immediate U.S. easing of economic restrictions on the country. Trump has said he is seeking a “big deal” in which North Korea would give up all its nuclear activities in exchange for normalized relations with the U.S.
Putin told reporters after the meeting Thursday that North Korea is seeking to receive “international guarantees” of its security and sovereignty.
“That’s it. All of us together need to think about this,” the Russian leader said. He added: “It’s unlikely that any agreements between two countries will be enough.”
The North Korean leader did not speak to reporters after the meeting. Earlier, Kim said he planned to share his ideas on the current political situation on the Korean Peninsula. He said the situation had “garnered the urgent attention of the world.”
Kim told Russian state television he hoped his visit would be “successful and useful” to help strengthen ties. He also spoke about his father’s “great love for Russia.” During his rule, Kim Jong Il made three trips to Russia, the last one in 2011.
In addition to his meetings with Trump and Putin, Kim has met with Chinese President Xi Jinping four times. He also held three meetings with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
Putin’s meeting with Kim came a day before he goes to Beijing for a two-day visit. “I will talk about it tomorrow (on Friday) with the leadership of China,” the Russian leader said.
Putin added: “And we will just as openly discuss this issue with the U.S. leadership. There are no secrets. Russia’s position always has been transparent. There are no plots of any kind.”
I’m Bryan Lynn.
Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English based on reports from the Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse and VOA News. George Grow was the editor.
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Words in This Story
sovereignty – n. a country's independent power and the right to govern itself
garner – v. to get or earn something valuable or respected
transparent – adj. in the open, not hidden