What do Kim and Putin want from their meeting?
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Russian President Vladimir Putin have met in Vladivostok. Their talks focused primarily on North Korea's nuclear disarmament, Putin told journalists. The summit didn't produce any concrete results, however. Commentators explain why that's not what it was all about anyway.
All about prestige
North Korean leader Kim has shown Trump that he's not the only one he can talk to, Lidové noviny writes:
“Kim is slowly becoming the man of the year. In just twelve months he's gone from being a spurned pariah to someone who can pick and choose whom he talks to. The fact that their meeting in Vladivostok didn't produce any specific results needn't bother either Kim or Putin. The result is no worse than those achieved at the Kim-Trump summits in Singapore and Hanoi. And in any event the meeting enhances both leaders' prestige. Kim is showing that the US leader isn't the only one he can cut a deal with. And for Putin it's also a positive development.”
Russia wants to demonstrate its clout
The timing of the meeting was perfect from Russia's point of view, Turun Sanomat notes:
“Putin's goal is no doubt to enhance Russia's international profile as an influential player on the Korean Peninsula. The timing is right because the failed meeting between Kim and US President Trump in February is still fresh in everyone's memory. Also in Russia's favour is the fact that China is not acting as North Korea's big supporter right now. China clearly believes that the US could interpret such a stance as a hostile gesture. And what Beijing really wants is to press ahead with the trade talks with the Americans.”
Almost normal neighbours
The Kim-Putin summit was a success despite the lack of concrete results, Tages-Anzeiger concludes:
“The meeting gave Kim - who up until just a year ago was isolated internationally - another opportunity to present himself as a statesman on the international stage. Also vis-à-vis his audience at home. At the same time he's widening his network of potential allies. Under his leadership North Korea, which until now has been no more than a blind spot on the map of North-East Asia, has almost become a normal neighbour to South Korea, China and Russia. It's only with Japan that things are not going so well. Washington's attempt to force Kim to capitulate with military threats two summers ago and by making maximal demands without offering any concessions now, loses credibility when a smiling Kim poses together with Putin, as he's already done several times with Chinese President Xi Jinping. That in itself is a contribution to more stability in North East Asia.”
Kim begging for flour
The North Korean leader is begging for alms, Polityka writes:
“After the unsuccessful summit meeting with Trump, several factories in the North Korean capital discontinued production due to a lack of orders. The managers told their workers to seek new employment for the time being. Food is becoming increasingly expensive. The price of rice has gone up by 50 percent in just a few months, for example. There's a lack of medicine and the black market is growing. Experts see this as a sign that the people are stocking supplies because they don't know how good this year's harvest will be or what effect the sanctions will have. Things are so bad that Kim has asked Russia for 100,000 tonnes of flour.”