Shadowy figures behind North Korean diplomacy

CNN's Barbara Starr reports on the upcoming meeting between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Kim Yong Chol, one of North Korea's highest-ranking officials.

Posted: May 30, 2018 11:26 AM
Updated: May 30, 2018 11:26 AM

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.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 55947

Reported Deaths: 1654
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin17789819
Ramsey6861261
Dakota3942102
Anoka3327112
Stearns281720
Washington188643
Nobles17456
Olmsted162023
Scott136214
Mower10782
Rice9898
Blue Earth8485
Wright8015
Carver7692
Clay74340
Kandiyohi6701
Sherburne6387
St. Louis42719
Todd4182
Lyon4153
Freeborn3541
Steele3271
Nicollet30713
Benton3043
Watonwan2980
Winona24516
Crow Wing20613
Martin2035
Le Sueur1991
Beltrami1910
Chisago1761
Goodhue1758
Otter Tail1753
Cottonwood1710
Pipestone1439
Becker1421
McLeod1350
Unassigned13540
Douglas1290
Itasca12912
Polk1293
Waseca1280
Pine1260
Carlton1240
Dodge1220
Murray1221
Isanti1080
Chippewa971
Brown832
Meeker832
Morrison831
Faribault820
Sibley782
Wabasha780
Koochiching733
Rock730
Jackson700
Pennington701
Mille Lacs643
Fillmore610
Cass582
Renville585
Lincoln540
Swift521
Grant491
Yellow Medicine490
Roseau450
Houston400
Pope390
Norman340
Redwood300
Aitkin280
Hubbard280
Kanabec281
Marshall280
Wilkin283
Mahnomen231
Wadena230
Big Stone220
Red Lake190
Lake170
Stevens150
Clearwater140
Traverse100
Lac qui Parle60
Kittson40
Cook20
Lake of the Woods10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 45592

Reported Deaths: 877
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk9709202
Woodbury364250
Black Hawk299762
Linn208987
Johnson191815
Dallas178735
Buena Vista178412
Scott159012
Dubuque152729
Marshall138324
Pottawattamie121223
Story111013
Wapello84531
Muscatine82448
Crawford7153
Webster7125
Sioux5932
Cerro Gordo58117
Tama53729
Warren5261
Jasper45424
Plymouth4438
Wright4411
Louisa37814
Dickinson3754
Clinton3123
Washington28710
Hamilton2391
Boone2282
Franklin2134
Bremer1877
Clarke1853
Carroll1811
Emmet1791
Clay1711
Hardin1660
Shelby1591
Marion1520
Allamakee1494
Poweshiek1468
Benton1421
Des Moines1392
Jackson1391
Mahaska13617
Guthrie1265
Floyd1242
Jones1231
Cedar1201
Hancock1162
Butler1132
Pocahontas1131
Henry1123
Buchanan1101
Lyon1000
Madison1002
Cherokee971
Clayton973
Harrison960
Taylor930
Lee923
Delaware901
Monona900
Humboldt891
Iowa881
Winneshiek821
Calhoun812
Mills810
Sac810
Fayette790
Jefferson780
Palo Alto780
Kossuth770
Osceola770
Mitchell760
Page740
Winnebago730
Grundy721
Union701
Monroe667
Worth610
Chickasaw500
Davis491
Howard480
Cass471
Appanoose433
Lucas434
Montgomery433
Greene380
Fremont360
Van Buren311
Keokuk301
Ida290
Audubon281
Decatur210
Ringgold211
Adair200
Adams160
Wayne151
Unassigned70
Rochester
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 50°
Mason City
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 46°
Albert Lea
Broken Clouds
55° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 55°
Austin
54° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 54°
Charles City
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 54°
Starting the week of dry
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Community adapting to changes at Rochester parks

Image

Fire-related fatalities increase in Minnesota

Image

Sean's Weather 8/3

Image

Campaign signs in Albert Lea

Image

Campaign signs go missing in Albert Lea

Image

Run the Woods race

Image

Don Bosco scores two in the 6th, stuns Newman for state title

Image

Pine Island holds community resource drive

Image

Pop up event for the homeless

Image

Seans 8/1 Weather

Community Events