DPRK leader Kim Jong Un arrives in Russia

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has arrived in Russia for his first official visit since the Covid-19 pandemic, according to state media reports from both countries. Kim is expected to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the city of Vladivostok, where they will discuss bilateral relations and regional security issues.

Kim traveled to Russia by train, a mode of transportation he prefers for security and comfort reasons. His green train with a yellow stripe was spotted crossing the border on Monday, after a 20-hour journey from Pyongyang.

The train had to change its wheels to fit on Russian rails, a process that could take several hours.

This is Kim’s second meeting with Putin, following their first summit in Vladivostok in April 2019. That meeting focused on the stalled denuclearization talks between North Korea and the United States, which have not resumed since the failed Hanoi summit between Kim and former US President Donald Trump in February 2019.

The Kremlin said that the current visit was initiated by Putin, who invited Kim to Russia. The Russian leader has expressed interest in playing a bigger role in the Korean Peninsula affairs, as well as expanding his influence in the Asia-Pacific region.

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