Kim asked Putin to intercede with U.S., China

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Kim asked Putin to intercede with U.S., China

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to help promote the communist state’s stance to the United States and China during a recently held summit, according to South Korea’s spy agency Monday.

Late last month, the two leaders held their first summit in Russia’s Far Eastern city of Vladivostok amid Pyongyang’s stalled nuclear negotiations with Washington.

“Russia sided with the United States on the North’s denuclearization, but Moscow understood Pyongyang’s stance on how to implement the denuclearization,” the National Intelligence Service (NIS) said in a recent briefing to the National Assembly’s intelligence committee.

“That means North Korea and Russia seemed to have a common ground for a phased, incremental approach to the North’s nuclear disarmament,” the spy agency said.

Washington is calling for the North to take sweeping denuclearization steps before any rewards are given.

The summit also came following the breakdown of the second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim in Hanoi, Vietnam, in February.

Washington has demanded Pyongyang’s total surrender of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, while the North has asked for sanctions relief as a confidence-building measure.

The North Korean leader also asked Russia to deliver its stance on denuclearization to the United States and China, which the spy agency claims can be interpreted as Pyongyang wanting Moscow to play a mediating role in the stalled U.S.-North Korea negotiations.

“That also indicates that Pyongyang wants the resumption of the talks with the United States,” it said.

With regard to Putin’s suggestion of a multilateral dialogue for the North’s nuclear issue, the spy agency took it as more of a proposal to create a “working group” rather than reviving the six-party talks that had led North Korea negotiations in the past.

“Russia may have created certain conditions for itself to intervene in the Korean Peninsula issue, but under the current sanctions system, Moscow has little part to play. There’s little chance that the six-nation talks will ever be resumed in that respect,” Rep. Lee Hye-hoon, head of the parliament’s intelligence committee, said.

The spy agency said the North Korea-Russia summit is seen as a working visit, rather than an official, friendly visit. The NIS also said there was no concrete agreement or deal between the two leaders, and President Putin is unlikely to visit Pyongyang any time soon.

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