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Moon, Putin discuss North Korea, bilateral relations

OSAKA, Japan – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday expressed his support for denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, relaying North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s words to South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

President Moon Jae-in and Russian President Vladimir Putin hold a summit meeting in Osaka, Japan on Saturday. Yonhap
President Moon Jae-in and Russian President Vladimir Putin hold a summit meeting in Osaka, Japan on Saturday. Yonhap

The meeting began at 36 minutes past midnight, nearly two hours later than the originally scheduled 10:45 p.m.

Despite the late start, Moon and Putin held talks with their aides and Cabinet members in presence until 1:21 a.m., followed by an 8-minute long one-on-one meeting.

Speaking at the Seoul-Moscow summit held on the sidelines of G-20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, Putin said that Kim stressed the need for corresponding measures in US-North Korea dialogue. Putin held his first summit with Kim in April.

According to Cheong Wa Dae, Putin quoted Kim as saying “security guarantee” for the North is central to denuclearization talks, and stressed the need for the US to take measures corresponding to Pyongyang’s denuclearization measures.

In response, Moon thanked Putin for his contribution to the process of establish peace on the Korean Peninsula.

“President Moon said that Russia’s constructive role makes big contribution to the Korean Peninsula peace process, and said that he will maintain close cooperation and communication with Russia,” Cheong Wa Dae said.

“President Moon said that exchanging of personal letters between President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un has increased the momentum for dialogue, and that he hopes for cooperation with Russia and China to reviving positive momentum.”

Although Putin was relaying Kim’s views, the message echoes those he gave following the April Moscow-Pyongyang summit. At the time, Putin hinted at taking a more direct role in North Korea issues. At the time, Putin called for multilateral dialogue on North Korean denuclearization, and expressed support for Pyongyang’s claims that it needs security guarantees.

Aside from North Korean issues, Moon and Putin discussed bilateral issues, including the so-called “nine bridges” plan the two sides singed in February.

The nine bridges plan refers to Seoul and Moscow’s plans to increase cooperation in nine areas – natural gas, railroad, ports, electricity, shipbuilding, industrial complexes, agriculture and fisheries industries and arctic shipping routes.

The two leaders also positively assessed negotiations on Korea-Russia free trade agreement officially beginning on June 20, Cheong Wa Dae said. By Choi He-suk (