Muslim Times(Web Desk) – Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has officially invited North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to visit the Russian Federation in September, Kremlin says, days after Russian Foreign Minister paid an official visit to the peninsular country for the first time in nearly a decade.
According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Monday, the invitation was extended to the North’s leader in a personal letter that was delivered by Lavrov late last month.
He added that one of the possible occasions for the visit could be the 4th Eastern Economic Forum, slated to be held on September 11-13, in Vladivostok, Russia’s Far Eastern city near its border with North Korea.
“Time will show to what extent it is convenient for the North Korean side,” Peskov further said during a press conference in capital Moscow, adding that the issue would be worked on via diplomatic channels and that no specific details on the meeting laid out yet.
During the past few months, Kim has travelled to China twice to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping and met with the South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone, which separates the two peninsular countries.
The North leader will also meet with US President Donald Trump in a much-anticipated summit on June 12 in Singapore. Trump officially cancelled the meeting on May 24 before retracting that cancellation just a day later.
Trump disapproved of Lavrov’s visit to Pyongyang on May 31, questioning its purpose, but then conversely noted that “it could be very positive too.”
Along with China, Russia has provided North Korea with its basic economic and military needs during years of intensive US-led sanctions on Pyongyang. The two countries have indicated that they would not completely stand aside regarding the current flurry of diplomacy over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.
The invitation by Kremlin reflect the wariness of both Moscow and Beijing of the US influence in East Asia, and a drive by both powers to make their own imprint on talks on the Korean peninsula’s denuclearization and peace process.
On April 21, and in the midst of diplomacy with South Korea, Kim said he would be suspending the North’s nuclear and missile tests and shut down a nuclear test site to pursue economic growth and peace on the Korean Peninsula, a move that attracted global praise and also prompted hope of a détente between the US and North Korea.
Seoul and Pyongyang had already been reaching out to one another since January. For almost seven decades before that, and since a war in the 1950s, the two Koreas had been in a state of perpetual hostility.