As Kim Jong-un arrived at the Vladivostok railway station on Wednesday, white-gloved attendants ran alongside his armoured train, wiping the dust from any surfaces that the North Korean leader might touch exiting the carriage.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet on Thursday in the Russian Pacific port of Vladivostok to discuss the global standoff over Pyongyang's nuclear programme, a Kremlin official said.
Two North Korean staffers realized the train door was still a few inches off from perfectly lining up with the red carpet when they placed the green ramp down.
North Korea's leader has said he was hoping for a "successful and useful" visit where he hopes to discuss the situation in the Korean Peninsula.
Putin's adviser added that the Kremlin would try to help "create preconditions and a favorable atmosphere for reaching solid agreements on the problem of the Korean Peninsula", Ushakov said.
Kim Yong Chol has been the head of the United Front Department, the North Korean Workers' Party apparatus which handles ties with South Korea and increasingly with the United States.
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Speaking to Russia's state-owned Rossiya-24, Kim said on arrival that he was hoping for a "successful and useful" visit and would like to discuss with Putin, "settlement of the situation in the Korean Peninsula" as well as bilateral ties with Russian Federation.
In 2002, Putin had held a summit with Kim Jong Un's father and predecessor, Kim Jong Il, who also visited Russian Federation in 2011 and met with then President Dmitry Medvedev. There have since been no publicly known high-level contacts between the US and North Korea, though both sides say they are still open to a third summit. It was the first time Kim was absent in the leader's entourage during an overseas trip. Many experts in South Korea said North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho and First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui are likely to take the lead in the nuclear diplomacy.
Kim evoked his father's "great love for Russia" and said that he meant to strengthen the ties between the two countries.
Mr Kim's predecessors as leader, his father and grandfather, also stopped there on their trips to neighbouring Russian Federation.
Kim said the summit will be a "starting point for productive talks on cooperation", Vesti TV reported him as saying in an interview.
The first of those meetings was in Pyongyang in 2000, when Mr Putin became the first Russian leader to visit the North.
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Kim will arrive in neighbouring Russian Federation in a bid to build support following the humiliating breakdown of the second US-North Korea summit in Vietnam back in February.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un claimed four foreign ministry officials sold information to the United States ahead of the February nuclear summit.
Kim was the North's top negotiator in denuclearization talks with the United States. "It is Chairman Kim's commitment to denuclearization upon which the world is focused", a department spokesperson said when asked to comment on the Kim-Putin summit.
Despite reassurances made by the dictator during Kim's first talks with Trump at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore last June, it emerged in February that North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programmes remain intact.
The sports complex at the university was closed on Tuesday and workers were seen bringing in pieces of furniture, a Reuters TV crew at the site reported.
Security guards at the entrance to the campus were stopping and searching vehicles as they drove in.
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