Sat, Apr 27, 2019 - Page 1 News List

North Korea’s Kim tells Putin that US ‘acting in bad faith’

AFP, VLADIVOSTOK, Russia

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin raise their glasses for a toast at a banquet in Vladivostok, Russia, on Thursday.

Photo: EPA-EFE / Korean Central News Agency

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has accused the US of acting in “bad faith” in talks on its nuclear arsenal, North Korean state media said yesterday as he left Russia following his first summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Kim’s armored train departed the Far Eastern port city of Vladivostok one day after talks that saw Putin back the North’s need for “security guarantees” in its standoff with the US.

The official Korean Central News Agency reported that Kim told Putin that the US had adopted a “unilateral attitude in bad faith” at a summit with US President Donald Trump two months ago in Hanoi.

“Peace and security on the Korean Peninsula will entirely depend on the US future attitude, and the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] will gird itself for every possible situation,” Kim was quoted as saying, referring to the North by its official name.

The Kim-Trump summit broke down in late February without a deal, after cash-strapped Pyongyang demanded immediate relief from sanctions, but the two sides disagreed over what the North was prepared to give up in return.

Russia has called for the sanctions to be eased, while the US has accused it of trying to help Pyongyang evade some of the measures — accusations Moscow has denied.

Last week, Pyongyang demanded the removal of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from the stalled nuclear talks, accusing him of derailing the process.

On Thursday, Putin emerged from the meeting saying that like Washington, Moscow supported efforts to reduce tensions and prevent nuclear conflicts.

However, he added that the North needed “guarantees of its security, the preservation of its sovereignty.”

It was “what the North has been saying all along” said Kim Keun-sik, professor of North Korean Studies at Kyungnam University in South Korea, adding that Putin’s support for Pyongyang’s stance was the “biggest prize” Kim Jong-un won in Vladivostok.

Putin flew on to another summit in Beijing the same day, while Kim Jong-un stayed in Vladivostok and had been due to take part in a series of cultural events.

However, the mercurial North Korean leader kept Russian officials in suspense about his post-summit plans.

A wreath-laying ceremony was yesterday morning delayed by two hours, with an honor guard kept waiting and the red carpet rolled up.

Kim Jong-un eventually showed up and the wreath was laid. Solemn music played as he stood, hat in hand wearing a black double-breasted waistcoat.

Russian media had reported that he would be visiting the city’s aquarium and seeing a ballet, but the visit was apparently cut short.

Kim Jong-un instead turned up at the train station in the afternoon and, after a final departure ceremony with a military band, boarded his train and left at about 3:30pm.

Primorsky Krai Governor Oleg Kozhemyako told journalists that Kim Jong-un had also been to a restaurant that his father had previously visited.

The North Koreans ate Russian food and listened to “traditional Russian folk songs that they know very well and love,” Kozhemyako said. “He promised to come back, he liked the city, he liked the region; we tried to do everything.”

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