North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has said he had "very meaningful" talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin as the two met for the first time. 

"We have just had a very meaningful exchange of views on issues of mutual interest," Mr Kim said after nearly two hours of one-on-one talks.

He said that he was visiting Russia to hold talks with Mr Putin about the situation on the Korean peninsula.

Mr Kim said he hoped for in-depth discussions on ways to strategically promote stability and jointly manage the regional situation.

Mr Putin and Mr Kim vowed to seek closer ties as they met face-to-face for what was the first time.

The meeting in Russia's Far Eastern city of Vladivostok came with Mr Kim looking for support in his nuclear stand-off with Washington, and Mr Putin keen to put Moscow forward as a player in another global flash point.

In brief statements before heading in to the talks, both leaders expressed their hopes for strengthening historic ties.

"I think it will be a very useful meeting in developing the relationship between the two countries, who have a long friendship and history, into a more stable and sound one," North Korean leader said.

"As the world is focused on the Korean peninsula, I think we will hold a very meaningful dialogue."

Mr Putin told Mr Kim he supports ongoing efforts to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula and wants to boost economic ties.

"I am confident that your visit... will help us to better understand how we can resolve the situation on the Korean peninsula and what Russia can do to support the positive processes that are currently taking place," Mr Putin said.

"In terms of bilateral relations, we have a lot to do to develop economic relations."

The meeting was Mr 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.



Among the issues 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.

The leader of North Korea, 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 $25m 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.

For President 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 today, Putin lashed out at "countries claiming sole global leadership".

"They carelessly trample on the norms and principles of international law, resort to blackmail, sanctions and pressure, and try to force their values and dubious ideals on entire countries and populations," said Mr Putin, who is heading to China after the talks for another summit.

The Vladivostok meeting follows repeated invitations from President Putin since Kim Jong-un embarked on a series of diplomatic overtures last year.

February 2019 talks between North Korean leader and US president collapsed over sanctions

Since March 2018, the formerly reclusive North Korean leader has held four meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping, three with South Korea's Moon Jae-in, two with Donald Trump and one with Vietnam's president.
At the meeting with Trump in Hanoi, the cash-strapped North demanded immediate relief from sanctions, but the talks broke up in disagreement over what Pyongyang was prepared to give up in return.

North Korea last week launched a blistering attack on US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, insisting he be removed from the negotiations just hours after announcing it had carried out a new weapons test.

Mr Pompeo said yesterday he expected "bumpy" talks ahead with Pyongyang but that he still hoped to reach a potentially landmark denuclearisation deal.

Russia has already called for the sanctions to be eased, while the US has accused it of trying to help Pyongyang evade some of the measures - accusations Russia denies.

The Kremlin has said the focus of today's talks will be on finding "a political and diplomatic solution to the nuclear problem on the Korean Peninsula" but that no joint statement or signing of agreements was planned.

Moscow was a crucial backer of Pyongyang for decades and their ties go back to the founding of North Korea, when the Soviet Union installed Kim Jong-un's grandfather Kim Il Sung as a leader.


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