SEOUL – With a black fedora and a black coat, a smiling Kim Jong-un, North Korea's leader, stepped out of an armored train that had taken him on a day-trip from Pyongyang to the Russian port of Vladivostok on Wednesday. 19659002] Mr. Kim's arrival came a day before his scheduled meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin as part of the North Korean leader's efforts to avert American pressure to abandon his nuclear arsenal.
Accompanied by senior Russian officials, Mr. Kim listened to a military band before stopping for a rare, brief interview with Russian TV station Rossiya 1.
Kim is the first North Korean leader to travel to Russia since as his father, Kim Jong-il, visited him in 2011, indicating that Kim's attempts during his diplomatic relationship with the United States his country's old Soviet allies with President Trump remain bogged down.
Mr. Kim's meeting with Mr. Trump in Hanoi, Vietnam, ended abruptly in late February when the North Korean head of state rejected Mr. Trump's proposal for a "big deal" in which the United States would lift sanctions in return for a quick dismantling of the entire North nuclear weapons program. Mr. Kim offered only a partial dismantling in return for lifting the most damaging economic sanctions.
Since then, North Korea has become increasingly frustrated with Washington, carrying out a weapons test, accusing John Trump, national security adviser John R. Bolton, and foreign minister Mike Pompeo of sabotaging the negotiations. Mr. Kim said he would be willing to meet with Mr. Trump again, but only if the United States made a new proposal that the North could accept by the end of the year.
A recent report submitted by the United Nations Sanctions Committee has been accused of helping Russia overturn international sanctions through illegal ship-to-ship transfers of oil and coal. However, there are doubts about Russia's ability to alleviate sanctions against North Korea.
Moscow is obliged to adhere to the UN sanctions it has chosen. North Korea and Russia share a short border, which precludes widespread smuggling between the North and China. Mr. Kim met Chinese President Xi Jinping four times while seeking help from China, which accounts for more than 93 percent of North's foreign trade.
Meeting with Mr. Putin this week, Kim has attempted to reaffirm his image as a global player despite not having made an agreement with Mr. Trump in Hanoi. His meeting with Putin also sent a signal to Washington that Kim had expanded his diplomatic chess game.
"If perception is indeed a reality, North Korea is seen as a player now in Northeast Asia, ie Kim's. A carefully calibrated PR offensive is working – much to Washington's dismay," said Harry J. Kazianis, director of Korean studies at Center for National Interest, a research institute in Washington.
"And in the long term," Kazianis said, "Such a strategy could well pay off if Kim is no longer perceived as a threat, eventually leading to a weakened sanction regime."  Russia and China have supported US-led sanctions against the North US Security Council of the United Nations, but at the same time provided the North with a buffer against American pressure They support the argument of the North that the United States and North Korea their Differences should "gradually solve" by using Siche guarantees for North Korean measures for complete denuclearization.
Talking to Washington, Kim Stopped Closer to Beijing, Moscow, or both, much as the United States tried to bring Seoul and Tokyo together to prevent China's rise and fight a nuclear North Korea.
When Mr. Kim concludes that both his and David's diplomacy with Mr. Trump is in vain, he can reject Putin's desire to strengthen his own influence in Asia. Japanese news agencies reported this week that Putin could call for the resumption of so-called six-party talks on nuclear disarmament in the North during his meeting with Mr. Kim.
Before the collapse of talks in 2009 – including China, Russia and Japan, as well as the United States and North and South Korea – they had signed denuclearization agreements, but they were later repealed.
Mr. Trump has repeatedly referred to the talks as a prime example of how the previous governments' dealings with North Korea have failed, and how his own leadership's diplomacy with Mr. Kim had a much better chance of bringing about the denuclearization of Pyongyang.