North Korean leader departs for Russia to meet Putin
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North Korean leader departs for Russia to meet Putin

Media reports did not specify from where the train departed and where it is headed but the Kremlin earlier said that the summit will be held in Russia's Far East city of Vladivostok on Thursday. If the train departed from Pyongyang, it will likely take at least 20 hours to get to Vladivostok. The upcoming summit will be the first meeting between the leaders of the two countries in eight years, after Kim's late father, former leader Kim Jong-il, met then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in 2011. It will also mark the first time for Kim to travel abroad after his February summit in Hanoi with US President Donald Trump ended without a deal as they failed to find common ground over the scope of Pyongyang's denuclearization and Washington's sanctions relief. North Korea has been stepping up its diplomacy with neighboring countries, including Russia and China, since the breakdown of the Hanoi summit – a move experts see as an effort to secure support in its nuclear negotiations with the US. Kim and Putin are also expected to discuss expansion of the two countries' economic cooperation during their summit. While the Kremlin opposes North Korea's further developing its nuclear program, it is critical of Washington's use of sanctions against Pyongyang. In late February, the North Korean leader and President Donald Trump of the United States met for the second time in Hanoi, Vietnam, where no agreement was reached. In their first summit last year, the two sides reached a vague denuclearization agreement.

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