The armored train carrying North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has crossed into Russian territory ahead of the summit with President Vladimir Putin, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov confirmed in the early hours of Tuesday.
Earlier in the day, Kyodo news agency quoted local Russian sources as saying that Kim’s train was heading north along the coast after stopping at the Khasan railway station on the North Korean-Russian border. Later, RIA Novosti reported that he crossed the Razdolnaya River, not far from Vladivostok.
Vladimir Putin arrived in Vladivostok on Monday on a two-day visit to attend the Eastern Economic Forum.
Commenting on the agenda of the Russian-North Korean summit, Peskov did not specify where in the Far East the talks would take place. He said that the negotiations would be held both with Russian and North Korean delegations present and in a one-on-one format. He added that there will be an official banquet in honor of Kim, but no press conferences are planned.
The upcoming talks are set to focus on a number of “sensitive issues” as well as bilateral economic and cultural cooperation, and the overall situation in the region, the Kremlin spokesman said. Earlier this month, the New York Times reported, citing Western officials, that Kim wanted to discuss further military cooperation with his Russian counterpart.
In addition to this, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko did not rule out that Putin and Kim would also discuss the issue of Russian humanitarian aid to North Korea.
The last meeting between Putin and Kim took place in Vladivostok in 2019. At that time, the talks focused on denuclearization, the situation on the Korean Peninsula, and a number of bilateral issues.
The North Korean leader’s visit to Russia comes amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula, which has seen recurring missile launches by Pyongyang as well as military drills involving South Korean and US troops.