North Korea's Ghost Ships Help Get Around Sanctions

Above North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attending a welcome ceremony after arriving at Vladivostok railway station in his private train yesterday. Right Bodyguards around a limousine that was part of Mr Kim's motorcade outside Vladivostok railway sta

"In terms of bilateral relations, we have a lot to do to develop economic relations", Putin added.

Putin added that Russian Federation and the United States share interest in denuclearization of Korean Peninsula.

Putin's last summit with a North Korean leader was in 2002 when his counterpart was Kim Jong Il, Kim Jong Un's father and predecessor.

Mr Kim wants the USA to ease the sanctions to reciprocate for some partial disarmament steps he took a year ago.

"As world attention is focused on the Korean Peninsula, there will be very meaningful dialogue for us to jointly assess the Korean peninsula policies and share, coordinate and study our views", Kim said.

While Russia extended the invitation to Kim nearly a year ago, the North Korean leader only accepted after his second summit with Trump broke down in February without agreements on relief from United Nations sanctions that are choking his economy or steps toward Kim's disarmament.

"I think there needs to be a multilateral security regime for the North", he said.

The pair met on an island off the port on Russia's Pacific port. "Russia will seek to score diplomatic points by demonstrating its relevance; North Korea, by showing it has options".

Seated next to Putin during opening comments, the young North Korean leader appeared to be winded and breathing heavier than usual, drawing speculation about Kim's health from some North Korea watchers.

Kim's visit to Russian Federation is being viewed as an opportunity for North Korea to show it has allies even after talks with the United States broke down during the summit in Vietnam.

The agency spoke with a North Korean trade official who heard the rumor about the executions, reportedly ordered by Kim Jong-un after he failed to secure the lifting of sanctions following his meeting with President Donald Trump in Hanoi in February.

Putin said he was confident the meeting would "help to develop bilateral relations and will help us understand how to reach a settlement over the Korean Peninsula, what can we do together, what Russian Federation can do to support the positive processes that are going on right now".

Both Kim and Putin emerged from the meetings later on Thursday with warm words for one another, although any specifics on the result of the meeting were not provided. Kim will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday.

Along with a statement of political support, Kim was believed to be looking for some kind of economic support and possibly even a workaround to sanctions that will force more than 10,000 North Korean laborers in Russian Federation to leave by the end of the year.

The Trump administration has said sanctions will only be lifted after North Korea gives up its nuclear weapons program.

Kim arrived in Vladivostok Wednesday aboard his private train and offered what is possibly his first interview ever with a foreign media outlet.

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