Kim wants Russia to help create breakthrough in stalled nuclear talks

This photo released by the Associated Press shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (L) shaking hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin before their first summit at Far Eastern Federal University in Russia's Pacific port city of Vladivostok on April 25, 2019. (Yonhap)

SEOUL, May 7, 2019, Yonhap. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to help promote the communist state’s stance to the United States and China during a recently held summit, according to South Korea’s spy agency Monday, reported the Yonhap.

Late last month, the two leaders held their first summit in Russia’s Far Eastern city of Vladivostok amid Pyongyang’s stalled nuclear negotiations with Washington.

“Russia sided with the U.S. on the North’s denuclearization, but Moscow understood Pyongyang’s stance on how to implement the denuclearization,” the National Intelligence Service (NIS) said in a recent briefing to the National Assembly’s intelligence committee.

“That means North Korea and Russia seemed to have a common ground for a phased, incremental approach to the North’s nuclear disarmament,” the spy agency said.

Washington is calling for the North to take sweeping denuclearization steps before any rewards are given.

The summit also came following the breakdown of the second President Donald Trump-leader Kim Jong-un summit in Vietnam in February.

Washington has demanded Pyongyang’s total surrender of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, while the North has asked for sanctions relief as a confidence-building measure.

The North Korean leader also asked Russia to deliver its stance on denuclearization to the U.S. and China, which the spy agency claims can be interpreted as Pyongyang wanting Moscow to play a mediating role in the stalled U.S.-North Korea negotiations.

“That also indicates that Pyongyang wants the resumption of the talks with the U.S.,” it said.

In regards to Putin’s suggestion of a multilateral dialogue for the North’s nuclear issue, the spy agency took it as more of a proposal to create a “working group” rather than reviving the six-party talks that had led the North Korea negotiations in the past.

“Russia may have created certain conditions for itself to intervene in the Korean Peninsula issue, but under the current sanctions system, Moscow has little part to play. There’s little chance that the six-nation talks will ever be resumed in that respect,” Rep. Lee Hye-hoon, head of the parliament’s intelligence committee, said.

The spy agency said the North Korea-Russia summit is seen as a working visit, rather than an official, friendly visit. The NIS also said there was no concrete agreement or deals between the two leaders, and President Putin is unlikely to visit Pyongyang any time soon.

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