Sources: Putin backs U.S. on denuclearization in Kim meeting |

Sources: Putin backs U.S. on denuclearization in Kim meeting

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, welcomes North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un during their meeting in Vladivostok, Russia, Thursday, April 25, 2019.

SEOUL, South Korea — Russian President Vladimir Putin on April 25 called on North Korea for its final, fully verified denuclearization, which the United States sought, during his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vladivostok, Russia, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

The move suggests Putin has shown a certain degree of consideration to the United States.

Kim is believed to be unsatisfied with results of the talks as he expected to receive Russia’s full support, bearing in mind a negotiation with the United States, observers said, adding that the summit’s outcome will likely influence Pyongyang’s foreign policy.

According to sources knowledgeable about Japan-U.S.-South Korea trilateral talks, Stephen Biegun, U.S. special representative for North Korea, asked Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov to inform North Korea without fail that the United States would never change its stance on final, fully verified denuclearization, during Biegun’s visit to Moscow on April 18.

After relaying the message to Kim, Putin told him the United States would remain committed to final, fully verified denuclearization and that Pyongyang must adhere to this approach, as well, the sources said.

However, Putin backed Kim’s desire for “phased and synchronized measures” in implementing denuclearization, according to the sources. During the talks, Kim said he wants Moscow to do more in conveying his demands to Washington.

At the U.S.-North Korea summit in Hanoi in late February, Washington called on Pyongyang to transfer its nuclear substance to the United States; fully dismantle its weapons of mass destruction, ballistic missiles and launching pads; suspend all nuclear-related activities; create a list of its current nuclear programs; and transition its nuclear scientists and technicians into commercial roles.

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