Vladivostok, April 26 (IANS) North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un on Friday concluded his first-ever trip to Russia, a day after his historic summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Kim’s scheduled activities on Friday in Vladivostok initially appeared to have been cancelled, although sources from the regional Primorsky government later said Kim’s visit to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was back on, reports Efe news.
The delegation accompanying Kim arrived at the memorial two hours later than originally scheduled, and while the reasons for the cancellation are not known, South Korean news agency Yonhap suggested it was due to inclement weather in the Russian port city, which later improved.
Kim was received at the memorial by Primorsky Governor Oleg Kozhemiako with an honour guard
The ceremony ended with more military honours before Kim’s anticipated return by train to Pyongyang.
On Thursday, Kim and Putin met face-to-face for the first time in what was the first high-level meeting between leaders of the two nations since 2011, when Kim’s late father, Kim Jong-il, met with then Russian president Dmitry Medvedev.
In addition to bilateral relations, Thursday’s meetings discussed the state of Pyongyang’s nuclear disarmament, a process which has stalled since a summit in Hanoi between Kim and US President Donald Trump in February failed to yield an agreement.
Following Thursday’s summit, the North Korean leader said that the security situation on the Korean Peninsula was dependent on the “attitude” shown by the US, North Korean state media outlet KCNA reported.
Kim Jong-un reportedly told Putin that “the US took a unilateral attitude in bad faith” at the failed Hanoi summit.
“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,” he said in the meeting, adding that his regime was prepared for any “possible situation”.
“Peace and security on the Korean peninsula will entirely depend on the US future attitude,” he said, according to KCNA.
Unlike Kim Jong-un, who did not make any public statement following Thursday’s summit, Putin addressed reporters at the end of his meetings with the leader of the so-called “hermit Kingdom”.
“North Korea needs guarantees of its security and sovereignty,” Putin said.
He called on concerned parties to first take steps that would boost confidence and trust, and to provide security guarantees to Pyongyang, which he said would support the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Putin also said the denuclearization process would need a “step by step” approach.
North Korea has been demanding the complete lifting of sanctions that the UN has imposed on the Pyongyang regime in response to the nuclear and ballistic tests carried out since 2006 until a few months before the first summit with Trump in Singapore in June 2018.
After agreeing to “work towards the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula”, their second summit in Hanoi ended without a deal being signed.