North Korea’s Kim to meet Putin at crucial diplomatic moment

State Pompeo meets with senior North Korean envoy Kim Yong Chol in Washington

State Pompeo meets with senior North Korean envoy Kim Yong Chol in Washington

In the interview, Bolton said the USA would need "a real indication" that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is ready to give up his nuclear weapons before Trump will meet with him for a third summit.

Still, as evidenced by the mild tone, it shows the North is still reining in any harsh rhetoric toward the USA and directly criticizing President Donald Trump as it seeks to keep the talks alive.

KCNA did not elaborate on the subject of the summit or where it would take place, but Japanese media has reported Kim will travel to Vladivostok on Thursday to meet with Putin on Russky Island.

There are fears that a recent North Korean weapon test and a series of jibes at Washington over deadlocked nuclear negotiations mean that Pyongyang may again return to the nuclear and long-range missile tests that had many in Asia fearing war in 2017.

Bolton's call for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to offer proofs that Pyongyang leadership is in the process of taking apart its nuclear arsenal were characterized as "nonsense" by the nation's vice foreign minister, Choe Son Hui, on Saturday, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

Bolton is the second, top-ranking USA politician to be criticised by Pyongyang in recent days, after it labelled Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as "reckless" Thursday, demanding his removal from talks over the North's banned nuclear programme.

Putin and Kim are on track to meet by the end of April, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday. According to sources cited by the Russian daily Kommersant, the meeting will occur at Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok, a location chosen by North Korea for security reasons. Pyongyang needs Russia's electricity supplies and wants to attract Russian investment to modernize the Soviet-built industrial plants, railways and other infrastructure. "As for Russian Federation, the Putin-Kim summit will reaffirm Moscow's place as a major player on the Korean Peninsula". Kim has visited China four times in the past 13 months and trade relations appear to remain strong, with the new crossing expected to bring an increase of tourism and economic activity despite reports that US President Donald Trump has China's cooperation in further sanctions he seeks to impose on North Korea.

The North conducted a "tactical guided weapon" test last week, signaling Kim Jong Un's growing frustration over diplomacy with Washington.