Kim to meet with Putin as tensions with US rise

Kim to meet with Putin as tensions with US rise
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North Korean leader Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnUS proposed helping North Korea build tourist area amid nuclear talks: report Kim poses for photos on white horse on sacred mountain, plans 'great operation' Beware the 34th month of Trump's presidency MORE will reportedly meet with Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinOvernight Defense: Trump's Syria envoy wasn't consulted on withdrawal | McConnell offers resolution urging Trump to rethink Syria | Diplomat says Ukraine aid was tied to political investigations Trump's Syria envoy says he wasn't consulted on troop withdrawal Former Russian Olympic Games official arrested by ICE in Florida MORE during a forthcoming visit to Russia.

Kim intends to visit the Russian Federation at Putin’s invitation by the end of April, according to the Associated Press, citing the Kremlin and North Korea’s state-owned Korean Central News Agency.

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The announcement comes as Russia is seeking increased access to North Korean mineral resources while Pyongyang seeks electricity supplies and Moscow's investment to modernize its infrastructure, most of which was built by the Soviet Union, according to the AP.

U.S.-North Korea relations, meanwhile, have shown signs of strain in recent months. Last week, North Korea conducted its first weapons test since the failure of a February summit between President TrumpDonald John TrumpGraham to introduce resolution condemning House impeachment inquiry Support for impeachment inches up in poll Fox News's Bret Baier calls Trump's attacks on media 'a problem' MORE and Kim, the two leaders’ second meeting on denuclearization.  Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick ShanahanPatrick Michael ShanahanDefense chief calls on European allies to be wary of China's investments, blasts Russia Pentagon chief approves 20 more miles of border wall Why Dave Norquist is the perfect choice for DOD's deputy secretary MORE emphasized that the test did not violate either United Nations sanctions or a testing moratorium Trump and Kim agreed to because the weapon was not a ballistic missile.

Also last week, North Korean officials reportedly said they no longer want to negotiate with Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump hotel cancels Christian aid group's event to support the Kurds: report Pence on Syria: 'Our troops are coming home' House calls on Russia to release Paul Whelan or else provide evidence of wrongdoing MORE in nuclear discussions, saying that whenever Pompeo “pokes his nose in, talks between the two countries go wrong without any results even from the point close to success.”

Kim has reportedly been optimistic about continued progress in talks with the U.S., however, saying earlier this month that he expects the nations to reach a nuclear deal by the end of the year.