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    N Korea at crossroads

    North Korea's Kim in Vladisvostok for summit with Putin

    Pyongyang hopes Russia will help pressure Trump to break nuclear impasse

    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a welcome ceremony as he arrives at the railway station in Vladivostok on Wednesday.   ? Reuters

    VLADIVOSTOK, Russia --North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in the Russian city of Vladivostok on Wednesday for a summit during which he will seek support from President Vladimir Putin as nuclear talks with the U.S. hang in limbo.

    Hoping to win more international support to urge U.S. President Donald Trump to make concessions toward Pyongyang, Kim will discuss issues such as denuclearization and sanctions with Putin.

    Earlier, at a stop on the border, Kim told Russian state television he was hoping for successful discussions with Putin.

    The two leaders are likely having dinner on Wednesday, before holding a summit on Thursday on Russky Island, the site of the Asia-Pacific Economic Conference gathering in 2012. The summit will later be expanded to a broader meeting that will include North Korea's other delegates. 

    "Finding political and diplomatic resolutions to the Korean Peninsula's nuclear issue" will top the agenda, according to presidential aide Yury Ushakov. "Russia is ready to do its utmost to help with North Korea's denuclearlization."

    Though Pyongyang and Vladivostok are only about 700 km apart, the aging railway in North Korea and other logistical difficulties make the trip time consuming. Kim will make the first visit to Russia by a North Korean leader since his father, Kim Jong Il, went in 2011.

    After denuclearization talks collapsed in a February summit with Trump, Kim has been trying various diplomatic maneuvers to extract concessions from Washington. The North Korean leader hopes to enlist Russia's help in trying to get the U.S. to ease sanctions on his country. 

    A special flight of the North's Air Koryo brought Kim's car and security detail to Vladivostok on Tuesday. His sister, Kim Yo Jong, and close aide, Kim Chang Son, have already arrived and are ironing out the logistics, South Korean media report.

    North Korea has sent tens of thousands of laborers to Russia in order to earn foreign currency. But they are supposed to return home before the end of this year under sanctions issued by the United Nations Security Council in 2017.

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