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US guarantees unlikely to prompt North Korea to de-nuclearize: Putin

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia: Russian President Vladimir Putin said after holding his first face-to-face talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Thursday that U.S. security guarantees would probably not be enough to persuade Pyongyang to shut its nuclear program.

Putin and Kim held a day of talks on an island off the Russian Pacific city of Vladivostok two months after Kim’s summit with U.S. President Donald Trump ended in disagreement, cooling hopes of a breakthrough in the decades-old nuclear row.

The talks between Putin and Kim did not appear to have yielded any major breakthrough.

But Putin, keen to use the summit to burnish Russia’s diplomatic credentials as a global player, said he believed any U.S. guarantees might need to be supported by the other nations involved in previous six-way talks on the nuclear issue.

Earlier, the North Korean leader had said he was looking forward to his first talks with President Putin as he arrived in Russia on Wednesday seeking support in Pyongyang’s nuclear deadlock with the United States.

Kim’s armoured train rolled into the Tsarist-era station in Russia’s Pacific port city of Vladivostok, where the summit will take place on Thursday.

Wearing a long black coat and fedora, Kim stepped out onto a red carpet on the station platform before making his way outside where he was received by an honour guard and military band.

His limousine drove off after the ceremony, bodyguards in suits running alongside.

The talks, only confirmed at the last minute, will be Kim’s first face-to-face meeting with another head of state since returning from his Hanoi summit with US President Donald Trump, which broke down in February without a deal on the North’s nuclear arsenal.

“I hope this visit will be successful and useful,” Kim told Russian television in the border town of Khasan, where women in folk costumes welcomed him with bread and salt in a traditional greeting.

“I hope that during the talks… I will be able to have concrete discussions on resolving situations on the Korean Peninsula and on the development of our bilateral relationship,” Kim said.

Putin was due to arrive in Vladivostok on Thursday, then fly on after the talks for another summit in Beijing.

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