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Kim tells Putin: US acted in ‘bad faith’ at Hanoi talks

TRUMP (right) and Kim Jong Un (left)

TRUMP (right) and Kim Jong Un (left)

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia (AFP) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un accused the US of acting in ”bad faith” at his summit with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Pyongyang’s state media said yesterday, after he secured Moscow’s backing in his standoff with Donald Trump.

Kim and Putin met Thursday in the far eastern Russian port of Vladivostok for their first summit – squarely aimed at countering US influence with Pyongyang and Washington deadlocked over the North’s nuclear arsenal.

Putin was keen to put Moscow forward as a player in a new global flashpoint – and it appears Kim was eager to take him up during talks described by KCNA as ”unreserved and friendly.”

Putin, known for delaying meetings with international guests, was waiting for Kim when he emerged from his limousine and the two leaders greeted each other warmly before nearly five hours of meetings on an island off Vladivostok.

During the discussions, Kim said the Korean situation was ”a standstill and has reached a critical point,” the official Korean Central News Agency said.

He added the US adopted a ”unilateral attitude in bad faith at the recent second DPRK-US summit talks,” the agency said, and that ”Peace and security on the Korean peninsula will entirely depend on the US future attitude.”

The Kim-Trump summit broke down in late February without a deal on North Korea’s nuclear arsenal, 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 already 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 denies.

Just a week ago, 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 supports efforts to reduce tensions and prevent nuclear conflicts.

But he also insisted 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, adding that Putin’s support for Pyongyang’s stance was the ”biggest prize” Kim won in Vladivostok.