Putin to meet with South Korea’s Moon as World Cup diplomacy continues

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Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Friday to discuss the recent denuclearization efforts in the Korean Peninsula amid the Kremlin’s diplomatic offensive during soccer’s World Cup.

But first, the South Korean leader will meet with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday to discuss the potential prospect of economic cooperation between the two countries, the Russian government said.

The talks with Putin will feature a number of topics including the situation on the Korean Peninsula following President Donald Trump’s historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un earlier this month, in which the communist state agreed to “total denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

A number of bilateral agreements are expected to be signed between the Russian and South Korean governments. The South Korean leader is expected to make a speech at the Russian State Duma lower parliament house as well. This will be the first state visit by a South Korean president to Russia since 1999.

Moon told Russian outlets Wednesday that Russia shares his country’s goal to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula and thwart the North Korean nuclear ambitions.

“President Putin and I also share the common goal of completely denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula and establishing a peace regime,” he said, according to Yonhap News Agency.

He also praised Trump for meeting with Kim, saying the summit in Singapore was more successful than he had hoped.

“North Korea promised complete denuclearization and the U.S. promised security guarantees for North Korea. I think what is left now is how completely and swiftly we implement such a wonderful agreement,” Moon told the Russian media.

He added that Kim appeared to him as calm, honest and very polite during the first inter-Korean meeting in over a decade at the border village back in April.

Putin is using the World Cup to facilitate diplomatic relations with a number of countries as foreign leaders flock to Russia to support their own countries’ national soccer teams.

Last week, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman met with Putin in preparation for the summit of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

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