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  1. ITV Report

North Korean leader Kim to meet Putin in Russia

Kim Jong Un Photo: Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is to visit Russia and meet President Vladimir Putin, state media has said.

The Korean Central News Agency released a statement on Tuesday saying Mr Kim would soon pay a visit to the Russian Federation at Mr Putin’s invitation.

A date for the meeting was not immediately released.

There are some indications that the meeting will be held in the far-eastern port of Vladivostok, not too far from Russia’s border with the North.

Vladimir Putin Credit: Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik/Kremlin Pool Photo/AP

The Kremlin said in a brief statement that Mr Kim would visit Russia “in the second half of April”, but gave no further details.

Moscow is interested in gaining broader access to North Korea’s mineral resources, including rare metals.

Pyongyang needs Russia’s electricity supplies and wants to attract Russian investment to modernise its Soviet-built industrial plants, railways and other infrastructure.

Mr Kim and US president Donald Trump have had two summits, but the latest, in Vietnam in February, collapsed because North Korea wanted more sanctions relief than Washington was willing to give for the amount of disarmament offered by Pyongyang.

As the standoff continued, the North last week announced that it had tested what it called a new type of “tactical guided weapon”.

While it is unlikely to be a prohibited test of a medium – or long-range ballistic missile that could scuttle the negotiations – the announcement signalled the North’s growing disappointment with the diplomatic breakdown and its apparent willingness to turn back to the kinds of missile tests that in 2017 had many in Asia fearing war.

The North also demanded that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo be removed from the talks, and on Saturday criticised White House national security adviser John Bolton for calling on North Korea to show more evidence of its disarmament commitment before a possible third leaders’ summit.