March 28 (UPI) — Russia expressed support for the summit between the leaders of China and North Korea, but dismissed speculation that President Vladimir Putin could soon meet with the reclusive Kim Jong Un.
Moscow’s foreign ministry said Wednesday the summit is significant, and that it is an “important step toward positive change on the Korean Peninsula,” South Korean news service News 1 reported.
Russia did confirm the government is “working closely” with China to bring a solution to the “Korean Peninsula crisis,” which encompasses North Korea’s nuclear weapons development and South Korea and U.S. military maneuvers.
Russia and China have condemned North Korean weapons, but have also claimed Seoul and Washington have contributed to tensions with military drills and the deployment of U.S. missile defense on the peninsula.
Kim, who met with Chinese President Xi Jinpoing on Monday and “pledged denuclearization” according to Chinese sources, could be refraining from visiting Putin in Russia.
“There are no plans to initiate a summit between Russia and North Korea, and there are no plans for President Vladimir Putin and Chairman Kim to meet,” the Kremlin stated Wednesday.
Kim’s visit to China lasted four days, from Sunday to Wednesday.
The summit took North Korea watchers by surprise and precedes planned summits with South Korea and the United States.
Masao Okonogi, Japan’s leading Korean Peninsula researcher at Keio University, said Kim is seeking to normalize diplomatic relations with friendly countries and is likely to meet with Putin, the Nikkei reported Wednesday.
Okonogi said the summit complies with trends in diplomacy in Northeast Asia, where the top leadership of countries must be involved in order for breakthroughs to take place.
The Japanese analyst also said North Korea is changing its diplomatic strategy as well as its “survival” tactics, according to the Nikkei.