In Summary
  • North Korean leader looking for support in his nuclear stand-off with the United States.
  • For Putin, the summit is a chance to push Russia's agenda of opposing US international influence.

Vladivostok,

Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un meet in Russia's Far East for their first-ever summit on Thursday, with the North Korean leader looking for support in his nuclear stand-off with the United States.

Putin's plane landed in the Pacific coast port of Vladivostok a day after Kim's armoured train pulled in to the city's Tsarist-era station.

Russian and North Korean flags were flying from lamp posts on Vladivostok's Russky island, where the summit was to take place on a university campus.

The meeting will be Kim's first face-to-face talks with another head of state since returning from his Hanoi summit with US President Donald Trump, which broke down without a deal on North Korea's nuclear arsenal in February.

Kim will be looking for Russia's support in easing sanctions imposed on Pyongyang over its nuclear programme, while Putin is keen to put Moscow forward as a player in another global flashpoint.

Arriving in Russia on Wednesday, Kim said he hoped for a "successful and useful" summit.

LABOUR

Among the issues likely to be on the table is the fate of some 10,000 North Korean labourers working in Russia and due to leave by the end of this year under sanctions.

Labour is one of North Korea's key exports and sources of cash. Pyongyang has reportedly asked Russia to continue to employ its workers after the deadline.

Kim, whose government has told the United Nations it is facing food shortfalls this year, will also be keen to see Moscow continue or boost its aid.

Russia has provided some $25 million in food aid to North Korea in recent years, according to the Kremlin. One delivery in March saw more than 2,000 tonnes of wheat supplied to the port of Chongjin, news agency TASS reported.

GLOBAL INFLUENCE
For Putin, the summit is a chance to push Russia's agenda of opposing US international influence.

In an interview with China's official People's Daily published on Thursday, Putin lashed out at "countries claiming sole global leadership".

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