Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un to meet on Thursday, Kremlin confirms

23 April 2019, 14:05 | Updated: 23 April 2019, 16:03

Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un will meet in the far eastern Russian city of Vladivostok on Thursday, the Kremlin has confirmed.

Russia's president and the North Korean leader will discuss political and diplomatic efforts to settle the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula.

Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov told reporters Mr Kim's visit is key in the process.

Local media has reported preparations and strict security measures are being undertaken in Vladivostok where the Korean leader is expected to arrive by train.

Mr Kim, like his father, avoids air travel.

The waters around Russky Island, the likely summit venue in Vladivostok, will be closed for all maritime traffic between Wednesday morning and Friday morning.

Local media report that some platforms at the city's main railway station will be closed for several days.

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 factories, railways and other infrastructure.

Mr Ushakov said Russia's bilateral trade with North Korea fell by more than 56% last year because of sanctions against Pyongyang.

He added Moscow believes it is important that North Korea and the United States are interested in maintaining their contact.

North Korea has said it no longer wants to deal with US secretary of state Mike Pompeo, and has called for him to be replaced in denuclearisation discussions by someone "more mature".

Mr Kim has had two summits with US President Donald Trump, but the latest one in Vietnam collapsed in February.

North Korea wanted more sanctions relief than the United States was willing to give for the amount of nuclear disarmament.