North’s official inspects likely summit venueNorth Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s protocol chief was seen visiting a university in Russia’s far eastern city of Vladivostok on Sunday, apparently as part of preparations for a summit between Kim and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Kim Chang-son, the protocol chief, and other North Korean officials toured various facilities at Far Eastern Federal University on Russky Island off of Vladivostok. The university is widely expected to be the venue for what would be Kim’s first summit with Putin.
The North Korean officials moved in a white minivan escorted by two black sports utility vehicles believed to belong to Russian officials.
The North’s team included Kim Chol-gyu, a top official in charge of the leader’s security, as well as Vice Foreign Minister Im Chon-il.
On Saturday, the team checked a train station and other sites in Vladivostok.
Moscow has announced that Putin will be meeting with Kim in the second half of April but did not provide further specifics.
But widespread indications are that the meeting will take place around Wednesday or Thursday. Putin is expected to meet with Kim on his way to China for an international conference.
If the summit takes place, it will be the first meeting between leaders of the two countries in eight years, after Kim’s late father, former leader Kim Jong-il, met Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president at the time, in 2011.