Kim Summit Off Agenda as Medvedev Heads to Vladivostok

Posted June 29th, 2011 at 3:35 am (UTC-5)
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Russian officials are denying published reports that President Dmitry Medvedev will meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Il during a visit to the Far East city of Vladivostok beginning Wednesday.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency quotes senior South Korean officials as saying a meeting had been planned but was canceled for unknown reasons. Japan's Kyodo news agency also had said it had confirmed plans for the meeting with Russian officials.

But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a press conference Tuesday that he had no information about a meeting between Mr. Medvedev and Kim Jong Il. And a Kremlin official told the French news agency Wednesday no meeting had ever been planned.

However, the agency noted that reporters traveling with Mr. Medvedev will be returning to Moscow a day or two earlier than previously announced.

Yonhap quoted a senior South Korean official saying a meeting had been scheduled for Thursday or Friday in Vladivostok. It quoted another intelligence source saying the meeting may have been canceled because of differences over the agenda.

Kim Jong Il has been seeking foreign assistance amid reports of worsening food shortages in his country. He is also seeking a resumption of international talks on his nuclear program, which involve Russia and several other countries.

Kim Jong Il has not met a top Russian leader since a meeting with then-president Vladimir Putin in 2002.

Mr. Medvedev is visiting Vladivostok to review preparations for an Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation conference to be held in the city next year.