North Korean Kim Seeks another Allies to Ease Korean Peninsula
North Korea leader Kim Jong-un and Russian Vladimir Putin approved to hold their first Russian-North Korean Summit at the end of April. Photo: Special

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories)North Korea leader Kim Jong-un and Russian Vladimir Putin approved to hold their first Russian-North Korean Summit at April 25, said an official statement on Tuesday (04/22). The meeting will focus on a political and diplomatic solution to the nuclear problem on the Korean Peninsula.

It said, Kim has left Pyongyang by train to meet with Putin in the Far Eastern port city of Vladivostok on Wednesday (04/24).

The meeting firstly came after North Korea said it had tested new tactical weapons with “strong warheads” and sought new allies because the denuclearization talks with Washington appeared to be stalled.

Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov said the two leaders would hold face-to-face talks before being joined by broader delegations, including Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, according to KCNA news agency.

For North Korea, the inaugural meeting was an opportunity for Kim to hope that Russia agreed to a compromise that would see easing international sanctions that damage its economy.

The country’s poor economic situation has urged Kim to make relaxation in sanctions so that regular trade can increase.

Putin himself has long expressed his readiness to meet North Korean leaders after the last summit between the heads of state of Russia and North Korea came in 2011 when Kim’s father, Kim Jong-il, traveled to Siberia to meet Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at the time.

At that time, Kim Jong-il, who died shortly after the visit, told Medvedev that his country was ready to leave the nuclear test.

Last week, North Korea conducted a trial of what state media dubbed “a new type of tactical guiding weapon”. North Korea Defense Minister Patrick Shanahan said the trial was a kind of tactical or battlefield weapon, not a missile that would violate Kim’s own moratorium on testing intercontinental ballistic missiles.

But for Russia, with the meeting Moscow was eyeing a leading role in other global hotspots. Because the situation on the Korean Peninsula seems to be stabilizing after a historic meeting between Kim and US President Donald Trump last year that supports denuclearization.

But the second round of talks ended in failure and Pyongyang this week said it was testing weapons again.

Andrei Lankov from Seoul Kookmin University said Russia needed some kind of control over the situation on the Korean Peninsula after the US was considered to have reached an agreement with Pyongyang.

The United States has accused Moscow of providing some food aid to North Korea, helping Pyongyang avoid a number of international sanctions, although Moscow later denied the allegations.

In addition, so far, Russia has no influence on China, Pyongyang’s only major ally and trading partner.

With this meeting, Russia’s role in every global negotiation is likely to be part of a group with China and North Korea itself.

Indeed, the Soviet Union is North Korea’s main ally, which offers economic cooperation, cultural exchange and assistance. But since the collapse of the “Iron Curtain” the relationship has suffered.

And as a regular trading partner, North Korea is not very attractive to Russia, because it cannot afford international market prices.

Like the US and China, Russia was not comfortable with North Korea becoming a nuclear state and in the early 2000s was part of the bad luck six-party talks after Pyongyang withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

But unlike the US, Russia only wants talks with Pyongyang which aims to stabilize the situation on the Korean Peninsula.

Russia’s involvement is also a matter of prestige and reputation. Regardless of how the US-North Korea relationship will work, Russia is interested in being involved at least at a certain level.

Russia also cannot provide economic assistance, because it is still bound by UN Security Council sanctions, so that open violations will only harm Russian interests.

In other words, the meeting was deliberately engineered by the US to urge North Korea not to increase tensions with Washington.

This can be seen from Donald Trump’s adviser, Fiona Hill, who was in Moscow to hold talks with his Russian partner, Yuri Ushakov. Likewise the North Korean Trump envoy Stephen Biegun is also in Moscow, the US foreign ministry said.

Written by Daniel Deha, Email: daniel@theinsiderstories.com