Putin and Kim Jong Un will meet in Russia later this month, Kremlin confirms

Source: Ilustracija

Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will meet in Russia later this month, the Kremlin announced on Thursday.

The meeting between the Cold War allies comes at a delicate moment in the nuclear negotiations between North Korea and the United States, which have stalled since the last round of talks in Hanoi fell apart earlier this year.

The Kremlin did not provide any further details about the meeting between Kim and Putin, who are not believed to have ever met each other.

The announcement came just hours after North Korea’s foreign ministry called for US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to be replaced in any further negotiations between the two countries.

North Korea has been pushing for more sanctions relief in exchange for denuclearization, while the US has demanded greater evidence that the country is prepared to reduce its nuclear arsenal. The disagreement is believed to be the primary reason the Hanoi talks came to an abrupt end.

Kwon appeared to blame Pompeo for the collapse of those talks, saying that the summit “gives us a lesson that whenever Pompeo pokes his nose in, the talks go wrong without any results.”

North Korea ‘tests tactical weapon’

Pyongyang’s diatribe against Pompeo came on the heels of a state media report claiming that Kim Jong Un had inspected and directed a “new tactical guided weapons firing test.”

The report, published o nThursday morning local time by KCNA, did not state exactly what kind of weapon was tested, nor its potential range.

However, the description provided by KCNA suggests that it does not represent a return to missile testing for the regime – a tactical weapon is designed to be used on the battlefield, and is typically not a long-range armament.

No missile launch was detected by US Northern Command and Strategic Command, according to US Department of Defense officials.

Kim praised the weapon’s capabilities, KCNA reported.

Pyongyang last conducted a “tactical” weapons test in November 2018. A South Korean government source with military knowledge told CNN that weapon was likely a piece of long-range artillery “likely to be a multiple rocket launcher.” At the time, South Korean Unification Ministry deputy spokeswoman Lee Eu-gene downplayed the significance of the 2018 event, saying Kim had been continuing his inspections in the military sector “intermittently.”

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