Russia's foreign minister is headed to North Korea

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will visit North Korea on Thursday, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs sa...

Posted: May 30, 2018 12:51 PM
Updated: May 30, 2018 12:51 PM

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will visit North Korea on Thursday, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement, the latest move in Pyongyang's push for diplomatic rapprochement.

Lavrov is expected to discuss not only the situation in the Korean peninsula and the wider region, but also the relationship between the two countries, according to the ministry.

His visit comes as North Korea, the US and South Korea intensify efforts towards convening a historic summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump. On Wednesday, American officials crossed the demilitarized zone into North Korea to meet with officials there, South Korean media reported, purportedly to discuss the substance of any talks should they occur.

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho had extended an invitation to Lavrov to visit the country on a trip to Moscow on April 10.

The long-time Russian foreign minister has previously traveled to Pyongyang, including in 2009 during an earlier round of negotiations on North Korean disarmament.

There were no discussions during the April 10 meeting of either Russian President Vladimir Putin or North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visiting each other's capitals, Lavrov said at the time, but added that both leaders "regularly exchange statements."

Shuttle diplomacy ramps up

North Korean and US officials have been spotted in Singapore, ostensibly planning the logistics of the event which was scheduled for June 12 in the city-state until Trump called it off last week.

He has not said definitively that the summit was back on, but the shuttle diplomacy between the three nations to find common ground has been a positive signal to observers that it will go ahead.

As Lavrov arrives in Pyongyang, Kim Jong Un's right-hand man Kim Yong Chul will be in New York meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Trump confirmed Kim's travel in a tweet on Tuesday, and said the trip was a "solid response" to his letter from last week to Kim Jong Un.

In his letter Trump had decried the "tremendous anger and open hostility" seen in statements out of North Korea, but also said he looked "very much forward to meeting" Kim Jong Un.

The forging of a relationship with the US has North Korean allies like China and Russia concerned that it would hinder their influence and standing with Pyongyang.

Putin had criticized Trump's decision to cancel the summit, telling reporters last week that "we in Russia view it with regret because we really counted on this very significant step toward the de-escalation of the situation on the Korean Peninsula and that this will be the beginning to the whole process of denuclearization."

He went on to say that Russia and its partners would work to try to bridge the gap between the US and North Korea, and said it would "be better to revert to the mechanisms which have worked quite well to create some kind of dialogue."

Russian influence in North Korea has waned

Even though the two nations established relations 70 years ago, the shadow once cast by Russia has lessened in North Korea as Moscow's global influence has waned and its own economy has been shaken by international sanctions.

"Russia has far less influence or leverage with North Korea than China does, and that's not because of the military stuff, it's purely because of money," said Bruce Bechtol, a professor of political science at Angelo State University who has authored several books on North Korea.

He said Russia is the only country other than China that presents a "semblance of being an ally" to the isolated regime.

"During the Cold War, Russia subsidized everything in North Korea. North Korea was not a poor country, it was simply a subsidized member of what we can now call the Soviet Union's satellite states," he told CNN.

That all ended in 1991, said Bechtol, when the Berlin Wall came down, communism in the Soviet Union and its member states collapsed, and Russia opened its economic doors to the West.

Terre Haute
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 37°
Robinson
Clear
32° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 32°
Indianapolis/Eagle Creek
Clear
42° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 42°
Terre Haute
Partly Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 37°
Mattoon/Charleston
Clear
42° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 42°
Terre Haute
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 37°
Terre Haute
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 37°
Becoming Cloudy
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1309459

Reported Deaths: 24018
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook5245929847
DuPage869211254
Will72209968
Lake64862965
Kane55955753
Winnebago31341460
Madison29912515
St. Clair27220504
McHenry27207278
Peoria21504284
Champaign19902139
Sangamon17870230
McLean17096171
Tazewell16095259
Rock Island14319305
Kankakee13576199
Kendall1241790
LaSalle11835232
Macon10284190
DeKalb9390118
Vermilion9101127
Adams8231117
Williamson7229126
Whiteside6913164
Boone642971
Ogle579978
Clinton570890
Grundy562971
Coles554894
Knox5344137
Jackson486763
Henry474863
Effingham468471
Livingston461883
Macoupin460681
Stephenson454280
Woodford443063
Marion4415115
Franklin433770
Monroe431790
Jefferson4167119
Randolph409684
Lee400151
Morgan377679
Logan365456
Fulton364850
Montgomery364773
Bureau355181
Christian352772
Fayette314054
Perry313059
Iroquois291064
Jersey263549
McDonough261144
Douglas255335
Saline251453
Lawrence239525
Shelby225037
Union223040
Crawford209325
Bond198924
Cass194824
Pike177451
Jo Daviess176824
Clark176732
Warren173946
Wayne173452
Hancock173030
Richland172140
Carroll171736
Ford170746
Edgar166939
White166526
Washington162825
Moultrie157526
Clay147343
Mason142842
Greene142433
Piatt141914
Johnson139814
De Witt139723
Mercer136933
Wabash134112
Massac131439
Cumberland128319
Menard118812
Jasper114317
Marshall99817
Hamilton82415
Schuyler7095
Brown6916
Pulaski6807
Stark61223
Edwards55812
Henderson52114
Calhoun5122
Scott4691
Alexander46211
Gallatin4534
Putnam4483
Hardin37012
Pope3073
Out of IL70
Unassigned02296

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 710607

Reported Deaths: 13248
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion968581722
Lake51908949
Allen39337672
Hamilton34643406
St. Joseph34306543
Elkhart27477432
Vanderburgh22099394
Tippecanoe21927213
Porter17987301
Johnson17571374
Hendricks16854310
Clark12715190
Madison12367337
Vigo12240244
Monroe11510166
LaPorte11204204
Delaware10382184
Howard9698211
Kosciusko9165114
Hancock8014139
Bartholomew7913155
Warrick7702155
Floyd7568176
Wayne6917198
Grant6855171
Boone6568100
Morgan6414138
Dubois6091117
Marshall5801109
Dearborn571276
Cass5698104
Henry5588101
Noble543683
Jackson494172
Shelby481395
Lawrence4349118
Gibson429589
Harrison429171
Clinton420953
Montgomery418986
DeKalb413284
Whitley382239
Huntington379780
Miami373365
Knox367189
Steuben367157
Putnam353460
Jasper352546
Wabash348178
Adams338253
Ripley335469
Jefferson318080
White308854
Daviess289999
Wells286881
Decatur279592
Fayette277362
Greene271085
Posey269533
Scott261553
Clay255445
LaGrange255470
Randolph236080
Washington231631
Spencer228131
Jennings225448
Fountain209345
Sullivan208042
Starke206252
Owen192756
Fulton192140
Jay186429
Carroll186120
Perry181436
Orange178353
Rush170824
Vermillion166343
Franklin166035
Tipton161543
Parke144616
Blackford133931
Pike130734
Pulaski114345
Newton104234
Brown100740
Crawford97914
Benton97413
Martin83115
Warren80215
Switzerland7698
Union70110
Ohio56011
Unassigned0408