North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in Russia’s Pacific port city of Vladivostok on Wednesday for the first summit with Vladimir Putin, as Pyongyang seeks to rally support over its nuclear deadlock with the United States.
The talks, organised in secret and announced at the last minute, will be Kim’s first face-to-face meeting with another head of state since negotiations with US President Donald Trump in Hanoi collapsed in February.
Kim’s armoured train arrived in the afternoon at the Tsarist-era train station in Vladivostok and he stepped out onto a red carpet before making his way outside to be received by an honour guard.
“I hope that this visit will be successful and useful,” Kim told Russian television in the Russian town of Khasan where his train crossed the border.
“I hope that during the talks… I will be able to have concrete discussions on resolving situations on the Korean Peninsula and on the development of our bilateral relationship,” Kim said.
Putin was due to arrive in Vladivostok on Thursday, then fly on after the talks for another summit in Beijing.
Kim’s train crossed the Tumen river Wednesday and arrived in Khasan, where women in folk costumes welcomed Kim with bread and salt in a traditional greeting.
Kim’s predecessors as a leader, his father and grandfather, also stopped there on their trips to neighbouring Russia.
At Khasan station a small wooden building known as the House of Kim Il Sung commemorates Russian-Korean friendship.
The talks follow repeated invitations from Putin since Kim embarked on his diplomatic overtures last year.
He is understood to be looking for wider international support in his standoff with Washington, while Moscow is keen to inject itself into another global flashpoint.