After the failure of the Hanoi summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader is now meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin in the eastern port city of Vladivostok. There's mystery shrouding the agenda but they do not have any plan to sign any agreements or make a joint statement.

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The visit is significant as it comes on the heels of a summit in Hanoi that failed to deliver the goods. It was the second summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un and it ended abruptly because of the hardline stance taken by both. Kim wanted to get relief from sanctions but Trump’s focus was on denuclearization. It was, in short, a clash of interests.

CNN reports that it will be the first time Kim Jong-un will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Kim Jong Un greeted with bread and flowers as he arrives in Russia for Putin meeting. [Image source/euronews (in English) YouTube video]
Kim Jong Un greeted with bread and flowers as he arrives in Russia for Putin meeting. [Image source/euronews (in English) YouTube video]

In the opinion of analysts, the meeting could be an attempt for Kim Jong-un to consider the diplomatic options open to him outside talks with the United States. Washington is aware of the Kim-Putin meeting and have received reports that Kim has left for Russia.

Exploring options: Kim Jong-Un

The North Korean leader opted to travel by train to Russia for his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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He had done the same when he went to Hanoi in Vietnam for his second summit with US President Donald Trump. The White House said that “things were left on good terms after Hanoi” but North Korean diplomats don't agree. Diplomats from Pyongyang wanted Trump to replace US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo because they felt his handling of the situation was not conducive to end the stalemate.

CNN goes on to add that Choe Son Hui is accompanying Kim on the trip.

She is an experienced diplomat and has been involved in talks with Washington. This will be Kim’s first meeting with Putin, and it will give him an opportunity to weigh his options beyond the United States. Kim might try to obtain Russian support in convincing Washington to agree for easing sanctions because it is hurting his economy. After all, Russia has extended support to North Korea in other areas.

North Korean migrant laborers work in Russia

According to the BBC, Kim Jong-un is on an important mission to Russia.

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It will be his first ever meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Both are allies and the last North Korea-Russia bilateral meeting was in 2011 between the then President Dmitry Medvedev and Kim Jong-un’s father, Kim Jong-il who passed away. It seems North Korean migrant laborers work in Russia and send their earnings back home. There are nearly 8,000 of them and their remittances are vital to maintain the economy of North Korea. Under the terms of the current UN sanctions, these workers will have to return home by the end of the year.

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Obviously, Kim has to evolve a solution and his meeting with an experienced leader like Putin could provide some guidelines.

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