This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing to brief Chinese leaders on his just-concluded summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and said he is also willing to share details of the talks with the United States.
North Korean state media on April 26, meanwhile, reported that Kim had invited Putin to Pyongyang “at a convenient time” — an offer that was “readily accepted,” according to the Korean Central News Agency. No dates were specified.
The moves could raise Moscow’s profile and influence in negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang over North Korea’s nuclear program, talks that have failed to bring fruitful results despite two summits between U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim.
The U.S. president in the past has expressed admiration for both Putin and Kim and said he is looking for closer ties with both leaders.
Putin said he and Kim had a “substantial discussion” and exchanged views on how to defuse the standoff over Pyongyang’s nuclear program.
After his talks with Kim in the Far East Russian port of Vladivostok, Putin left for his two-day trip to Beijing, where he said he will inform Chinese leaders about the summit.
“And we will just as openly discuss this issue with the U.S. leadership,” Putin said. “There are no secrets. Russia’s position has always been transparent. There are no plots of any kind.”
Putin was in Beijing to attend, along with leaders from dozens of other countries, the opening of a forum on the Belt and Road initiative, China’s $1 trillion project that seeks to create new rail, road, port, and energy infrastructure that links China with Europe, Africa, and other parts of Asia.
At the conclusion of the Vladivostok summit, Kim used harsh language to describe talks with the United States, accusing Washington of acting in “bad faith” during the Hanoi summit in February between Kim and Trump.
“The situation on the Korean Peninsula and the region is now at a standstill and has reached a critical point where it may return to its original state as the U.S. took a unilateral attitude in bad faith at the recent second [North Korea-U.S.] summit talks,” KCNA reported Kim saying.
Washington is seeking a deal to have Pyongyang give up its nuclear weapons, while the North Koreans have demanded relief from sanctions before further commitments can be made.
In March, the United States imposed fresh sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear weapons program.
Putin on April 25 said that Pyongyang needs international “security guarantees” offered within a multinational framework before it ends its nuclear program.
“They [North Koreans] only need guarantees about their security,” Putin told reporters after the summit ended.
Kim said he had a “very meaningful exchange of views on issues of mutual interest” with Putin, adding that they had “discussed ways of peaceful settlement.”
In Brussels, European Union Council president Donald Tusk said, “We call on [North Korea] to concretely engage on denuclearization and the complete, verifiable dismantlement of all its nuclear weapons.”