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.

West Lafayette
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 79°
Kokomo
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 75°
Rensselaer
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 72°
Fowler
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 72°
Williamsport
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 74°
Crawfordsville
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 71°
Frankfort
Scattered Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 75°
Delphi
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 74°
Monticello
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 74°
Logansport
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 75°
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 51612

Reported Deaths: 2760
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion12074693
Lake5650249
Elkhart361860
Allen2952134
St. Joseph214869
Hamilton1708101
Cass16459
Hendricks1466100
Johnson1345118
Porter84038
Tippecanoe7799
Vanderburgh7686
Clark71144
Madison67864
LaPorte62328
Howard60758
Bartholomew60145
Kosciusko5824
Marshall5579
Noble52028
Boone49144
LaGrange48610
Jackson4783
Delaware47552
Hancock46836
Shelby45925
Floyd41444
Monroe34828
Morgan34531
Grant32226
Dubois3096
Montgomery29820
Henry29618
Clinton2903
White27610
Dearborn26523
Warrick26129
Vigo2588
Decatur25632
Lawrence25225
Harrison21822
Greene19632
Miami1942
Jennings17912
Putnam1738
DeKalb1694
Scott1659
Wayne1586
Daviess15117
Perry14910
Steuben1382
Orange13723
Jasper1362
Ripley1347
Franklin1288
Gibson1242
Wabash1163
Carroll1142
Starke1083
Whitley1076
Fayette1067
Newton10110
Huntington942
Jefferson872
Wells821
Randolph804
Fulton731
Jay720
Knox710
Washington681
Pulaski661
Clay645
Rush623
Posey610
Spencer571
Owen521
Benton510
Sullivan501
Adams491
Brown431
Blackford402
Fountain362
Crawford330
Switzerland320
Tipton321
Parke270
Martin260
Ohio230
Vermillion200
Warren151
Union140
Pike120
Unassigned0193

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events