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Russian Foreign Minister Will Visit North Korea for Talks

Russian President Vladimir Putin (Kirill Kudryavtsev/Pool)

The Russian foreign minister will visit North Korea for talks on Thursday.

Sergey Lavrov will meet with North Korea’s foreign policy chief, Ri Yong Ho, to discuss issues important to both of them as well as those relating to the entire Korean Peninsula, the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

The meeting comes as the U.S. and North Korea prepare for the much-anticipated June 12 summit in Singapore aimed at the denuclearization of the Koreas. If it takes place, the meeting between President Trump and dictator Kim Jong Un will be the first between a sitting president and a North Korean leader.

President Trump and North Korean officials have both expressed a desire to move forward with plans for the summit after Trump called it off earlier this month due to the “tremendous anger and open hostility” coming out of North Korea. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the meeting was also called off because officials from the country simply stopped responding to requests from the U.S. to coordinate on logistics.

Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized Trump’s decision to cancel the summit, saying he viewed the move with “regret.”

“Kim Jong Un on his part did everything he promised to do, even blew up some tunnels on their sites and after this we hear the U.S. is canceling the meeting,” Putin said.

North Korea destroyed several nuclear facilities and returned three captive American citizens to the U.S. as a sign of good faith prior to the summit.

“We hope very much that dialogue will be revitalized, renewed, because without that we can’t hope for any kind of significant progress in solving this extraordinarily important issue,” Putin said.

A top aide to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un was spotted at Beijing’s airport on Wednesday as he headed to New York to meet with the secretary of state. Kim Yong Chol and Pompeo will discuss the upcoming summit.

American officials also met with officials in North Korea on Wednesday.

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