It was all smiles and bonhomie as President Vladimir Putin hosted Kim Jong Un in Vladivostok. But Kim's hopes of sanctions relief won't be realized soon.
A clear message to the United States from Vladivostok: you're not the only show in town.
Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted Kim Jong Un on Thursday (April 25) on a Russian island, in a display of global clout for both.
U.S. President Donald Trump's talks with Kim on Pyongyang's nuclear program broke down two months ago.
And, now the Supreme Leader is keen to explore other options -- specially ones that help lift the weight of international and U.S. sanctions.
Reuters' Christian Lowe in Moscow says Russia, an ally of Pyongyang, wants to be back at the table of any peace talks.
CHRISTIAN LOWE, REUTERS MOSCOW BUREAU CHIEF, SAYING:
"Russia is kind of back in the game, and I think that Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, is exploiting that. And he's using the summit to show the world that Russia can again have decisive influence over what happens with North Korea and is a major player on the world stage."
Kim rolled across the border in his armored train Wednesday (April 24) with high hopes.
It was the two leaders' first face-to-face meeting -- though former Soviet Russia and Communist North Korea are neighbors and old friends.
Behind the bonhomie -- and closed doors -- the question was how much Putin could give. Kim wants support for economic development and diplomatic back-up to end sanctions.
Russia sells oil and gives aid to North Korea, but it supports the sanctions regime.
Despite long sessions, and a gala dinner, the talks ended with no official statement from either side.
CHRISTIAN LOWE, REUTERS BUREAU CHIEF, RUSSIA:
"Where Russia differs from say the United States, is Russia is very firmly set against trying to push towards regime change. But ultimately Russia is still signed up to the international consensus over North Korea that's set out in many, many United Nations Security Council resolutions which say that North Korea should not be developing its nuclear program, and that if it does that it will be subject to sanctions. Russia shows no readiness at all to break with that."
The Kremlin wants a resumption of the long-standing six-way talks on the nuclear program, which was sidelined by the U.S. president's diplomatic push.
But Putin said after the talks he didn't know if the time was right.
Kim's hopes for more dramatic support look likely to be frustrated. (Reuters)