UPDATE | Putin says he'll brief US on summit with Kim
VLADIVOSTOK, Russia (AP) — President Vladimir Putin says he's willing to share details with the United States about his summit today with Kim Jong Un, potentially raising Russia's influence in the stalemated issue of North Korean denuclearization.
The two leaders' first one-on-one did not indicate major changes in North Korea's position: Putin said Kim is willing to give up nuclear weapons, but only if he gets ironclad security guarantees.
Putin said, however, Kim urged him to explain the nuances of North Korea's position to President Donald Trump. Such an interlocutor role could be meaningful in light of Trump's apparent admiration of the Russian leader.
Trump has said he "fell in love" with Kim, possibly indicating a proclivity to being swayed toward accommodation with the North Korean leader, although that declaration came before the Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi in February that collapsed in disagreement.
After today's summit in the Pacific port city of Vladivostok, about 75 miles from the North Korean border, Putin stressed that Moscow and Washington both want North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons.
But, he said, the security guarantees Kim demands in exchange should be underwritten by multiple countries, hinting at an arrangement like the six-nation talks Russia participated in until their collapse in 2009.
Putin later headed for a two-day trip to Beijing, where he said he will inform the Chinese leadership 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 always has been transparent. There are no plots of any kind."
VLADIVOSTOK, Russia (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un confirmed during their first summit today that he is willing to give up his nuclear weapons – but only if he gets an ironclad security guarantee first.
The Russian president stressed that Moscow and Washington both want North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons. But he said the security guarantees should be underwritten by multiple countries, hinting at an arrangement like the six-nation talks Russia participated in until their collapse in 2009.
Putin added that Kim encouraged him to explain the nuances of Pyongyang's position to President Donald Trump. He said he's willing to share details of the summit with the American president.
"I will talk about it tomorrow with the leadership of China," Putin said before heading to Beijing on a two-day visit after meeting with Kim. "And we will just as openly discuss this issue with the U.S. leadership. There are no secrets. Russia's position always has been transparent. There are no plots of any kind."
Putin's remarks after the one-day summit just off the Pacific port city of Vladivostok reflect Kim's growing frustration with Washington's efforts to maintain "maximum pressure" until the North commits to denuclearization.
But his characterization of Kim's comments also suggests there have been no major changes in North Korea's basic position.
North Korea has all along contended it needs its nuclear arsenal to defend itself against what it sees as U.S. hostility and wants concrete reassurances of its safety – including the removal of the American nuclear threat as an integral part of the denuclearization of the entire Korean Peninsula.
It wasn't immediately clear what other agreements the leaders might have struck.
Along with a statement of political support, Kim was believed to be looking for some kind of economic support and possibly even a workaround to sanctions that will force more than 10,000 North Korean laborers in Russia to leave by the end of the year. The laborers are a major source of income for Pyongyang.