Russia to Send Top Diplomat to North Korea Before Trump-Kim Summit

Russia will send its top diplomat to North Korea for discussions on a range of topics, including Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program, Newsweek informs.

Pyongyang has invited Moscow’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to meet his North Korean colleague Ri Yong Ho, the government-run KCNA news agency reported on Wednesday. The Russian foreign ministry confirmed the report and accepted the invitation in a statement shortly after.

“The negotiations are planned between the foreign policy institutions’ heads, over the course of which they will likely discuss the bilateral agenda, opinions on the situation around the Korean peninsula situation and other key international as well as regional problems,” the Russian ministry said in a statement.

According to Newsweek, Russia has repeatedly moved to insert itself into the conflict resolution process between North Korea and its partner China, as well as South Korea and its ally the United States.

Although Moscow has consistently endorsed a Chinese sponsored roadmap to resolving the conflict, Russian officials have made several attempts to show their country is a participant in its own right.

Russia’s foreign ministry has also offered its services as a peace broker between North and South Korea last month. Russian President Vladimir Putin notably tried to entice North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un to make Moscow the destination of his first foreign visit in 2015 – and the North Korean reportedly accepted the invitation back then, but did not attend the event for unknown reasons

A large delegation of Russian lawmakers made a visit to Pyongyang late last year and returned making bold claims about their country’s clout in resolving the conflict. One of the delegates told Russian media that North Korean officials gave him the impression that Russia is “the only state which, in my opinion, Pyongyang still trusts.”

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