"Informed sources" of South Korea's Yonhap news agency have slightly cleared the mist that has for a long time been covering a possible visit of the North Korean leader to Russia.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin is going to visit the Far East to take part in a domestic event. Then the Russian leader will attend the One Belt, One Road forum in Beijing on April 26-27. The summit may take place either before or after the Beijing forum, sources of the South Korean news agency said.
An informed source of the newspaper Izvestia with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia (surely, no lower than a deputy minister) confirmed that such a visit was indeed being prepared and that it was scheduled to take place next week.
Interestingly, the source of Izvestia didn't rule out some surprises in this respect as Kim is allegedly "an impulsive person."
Indeed, surprises can always be expected from the North Korean side. This is not because the leader of the DPRK, as it is said, "an impulsive person," but because North Korea is switching to a new track in both its foreign and domestic policies. In particular, Pyongyang is testing a new line of conduct in international affairs.
The new image of the country that is urgently being drawn in Pyongyang is approximately as follows: the DPRK has today a young but mature leader, a politician of a high international level, a person of modern progressive ideas. He managed to protect peace not only in his country but also on the whole Korean Peninsula, which means in the whole region, amidst complicated conditions of a drastic escalation of military and political situation. Even American President Donald Trump recognizes him. Trump considers him as a friend, and they meet regularly and discuss the most important global problems.
It is likely that this is a simple position from which Kim Jong Un will have a dialogue the Russian leader who he considers to be an equal in all respects. Pyongyang is still convinced that the missile and nuclear potential created within the shortest period of time and, of course, iron will and wisdom of the North Korean leadership is not only a guarantee of the DPRK's security but a base for global recognition of the North Korean state as an equal and influential player in Northeastern Asia and the whole world.
Moscow has a slightly different view of these problems. Yes, it of course recognized the sovereignty and equality of its North Korean neighbor but it doesn’t like that it has the missile and nuclear potential that is being rattled at any favorable or unfavorable occasion. And amidst the noted "impulsiveness" of Pyongyang's line such worries are growing into serious concerns because at least Russia's Far East may be in the area of such "impulses."
That is why one can say with a great deal of certainty that the first topic of the Vladivostok negotiations will be the nuclear disarmament of the Korean Peninsula. And this means the whole Korean Peninsula. Moscow understands well Pyongyang's anxiety which is explained by a great number of offensive nuclear weapons in the direct vicinity of Korea, as well as high military activities of the group of American and South Korean troops on the Korean Peninsula.
This also includes the deployment in South Korea of the so-called US missile defense that can at any time be transformed into an offensive system, the still unexplained issue of the possible storing of American nuclear weapons on the South Korean territory, highly intensive exercises of South Korea of the national scale and jointly with the armed forces of the USA in the Korean region, and many other important military and political problems.
Naturally, Vladimir Putin will state in Vladivostok his support of Pyongyang's line at the development of dialogue with Seoul and Washington and at settling the nuclear problem by political and diplomatic means. Possibly, he will state his support of at least partial lifting of economic sanctions from the DPRK. The Russian leader will for sure underscore the advantages that can be brought by the boosting of bilateral economic ties and the implementation of trilateral projects involving South Korea.
But the most important thing for Moscow at the current stage of the development of the relationship the DPRK is to make known to the North Korean leadership Moscow's real interests in the Korean settlement and the need and feasibility of a broader multilateral dialogue not only on the Korean issue but also other regional and global problems.
Results of the meeting will show if the two countries' leaders are able to secure mutual understanding. But it is unlikely that this summit will dot all i's in the relationship between the two countries. North Korea is a tough negotiator that is aimed mainly at solving its own, solely national problems. It will be hard to bring it to a broader understanding of the situation.
However, Kim is going to Russia. This means that he counts on Moscow and that he understands and accepts its role and importance in the Korean issue and international affairs in general.