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Russian Foreign Minister Meets Kim in Pyongyang

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un here on Thursday.

According to Russian media, Lavrov invited Kim to visit Russia at a suitable time.

Prior to this meeting, Lavrov met his North Korean counterpart Ri Yong-ho.

The foreign ministers of both the countries discussed the current situation on the Korean Peninsula and denuclearisation, CNN reported.

After the meeting with Ri, Lavrov told reporters that Russia advocated the “phased lifting” of the sanctions imposed on North Korea and called for the achievement of denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.

“As we start discussions on how to resolve the nuclear problem on the Korean Peninsula, it is understood that the solution cannot be comprehensive without the lifting of sanctions,” Lavrov said according to state news agency Sputnik.

During his visit to Pyongyang, Lavrov laid a floral wreath to the statues of Kim’s father and grandfather, Kim Jong-il and Kim il-sung.

Lavrov’s visit to North Korea comes after Kim Young Chol arrived in New York on Wednesday, becoming the most senior official from North Korea to touch American soil since 2000 and met US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to discuss the probable summit between Trump and Kim, tentatively scheduled for June 12.

At a 90-minute working dinner, the two leaders deliberated on whether the two sides can conduct the summit on dismantling the North’s nuclear weapons program in exchange for concessions.

“Good working dinner with Kim Yong Chol in New York tonight. Steak, corn, and cheese on the menu,” Pompeo tweeted post the meeting.

Pompeo on Thursday said North Korea could see a brighter future only if it advocated the path of denuclearisation and gave up its nuclear weapons. He said the US saw a vision of a “strong and prosperous” North Korea.

Pompeo further said that “real progress” was being made in regards to the meeting between Kim and US President Donald Trump and that both the US and North Korea were moving on in the right direction.

Last week, Trump had said the much-anticipated US-North Korea summit that was scheduled to be held on June 12 in Singapore was cancelled.

He blamed the ‘hostility’ and anger displayed by North Korea regarding the US-South Korea Max military drills for calling off the summit.

A few days later, Pompeo said that even after Trump called off the summit with Kim, Washington D.C. was willing to continue its efforts to have a dialogue with North Korea.

Since then, officials from both sides are putting in efforts to make the summit happen.

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