Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un hold first summit

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2:46 a.m. ET, April 25, 2019

Analyst: Russia doesn't have a lot of leverage on denuclearization

Philip Yun, the executive director of the anti-nuclear weapons NGO Ploughshares Fund, said he was surprised that denuclearization was high on the agenda for the Putin-Kim summit because Russia has little leverage in dealing with North Korea.

He described the summit as "long on symbolism."

"Kim Jong Un is trying to figure out what his options are and trying to increase his leverage with the United States," Yun told CNN.

Yun said the summit offers Putin an opportunity to insert Russia into the conversation when it comes to resolving the North Korean nuclear crisis, as Moscow risked being left on the sidelines after last year's flurry of diplomatic activity between North Korea, South Korea, the United States and China.

2:29 a.m. ET, April 25, 2019

Putin calls talks with Kim "thorough"

From CNN’s Alla Eshchenko

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had "thorough one-on-one talks" to kick off their summit in Vladivostok.

Speaking before the North Korean and Russian delegations, Putin said the two leaders spoke about "about the history of relations between our countries, about today and perspectives of development of our bilateral relations.

"We discussed about the situation on Korean Peninsula. We exchanged with opinions about what and how needs to be done, so that the situation would have a great perspective for improvement," he said.
1:02 a.m. ET, April 25, 2019

Putin: Meeting will clarify "the ways we can help to settle the situation on the Korean peninsula"

Putin said he believed Kim's visit would help "our bilateral relations and will help us to understand the ways we can help to settle the situation on the Korean peninsula, what can be done together, what Russia can do to support the positive processes that are taking their place now."

Here's what else Putin said:

I’m very happy to have you in Russia. Our colleagues have agreed about it a long time ago. First of all, I’d love to congratulate you with being elected on a high role -- as a head of DPRK. I sent you a letter, but I’m happy to congratulate you with this now in person. I’d like to say that last year we celebrated 70 years of diplomatic ties between our countries.
I’m sure your visit to Russia will also help to develop our bilateral relations and will help us to understand the ways we can help to settle the situation on the Korean Peninsula, what can be done together, what Russia can do to support the positive processes that are taking their place now. We welcome your efforts on developing inter-Korean dialogue and your efforts on normalizing the US-North Korean relations. And of course, in terms of bilateral agenda, we need to achieve a lot to develop trade and economic ties and humanitarian ties

2:05 a.m. ET, April 25, 2019

Kim Jong Un congratulates Putin, says meeting will be "beneficial"

Speaking to the media after meeting Vladimir Putin for the first time, Kim Jong Un said he expects to have a "beneficial meeting" with the Russian President.

Kim also thanked Putin for hosting him during a "very busy time." Addressing the Russian leader, he continued:

I have already congratulated you through a letter in the previous year, but I would like to congratulate you on this opportunity once again for taking up the duty of leading the great Russian people in last year’s presidential election and for passionately working now.
I think it will be a meeting that will be very beneficial to constructively developing our two nation’s relations which boasts a long history and tradition of friendship into one that is more firm and whole.

The North Korean leader appeared to be breathing heavily while Putin spoke.

12:09 a.m. ET, April 25, 2019

Photo: Putin, Kim meet for first time

Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met for the first time shortly after 2 p.m. in Vladivostok, Russia. Putin greeted Kim after he exited a Mercedes limousine. The two shook hands and posed for pictures as they appeared to exchange a few words.

They then entered a building at Russia's Far Eastern Federal University, where the summit will take place.

12:01 a.m. ET, April 25, 2019

Putin arrives at summit venue

Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to have arrived at Far Eastern Federal University ahead of his meeting with Kim Jong Un there.

11:05 p.m. ET, April 24, 2019

Putin to become sixth leader to meet Kim

Vladimir Putin will be the sixth world leader to meet Kim Jong Un since he took control of North Korea in 2011. All of these meetings have happened since 2018, when Kim's regime emerged from the shadows and began a diplomatic charm offensive.

So far, Kim has met Chinese President Xi Jinping, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, US President Donald Trump and Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong.

Kim and Trump during their summit at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island on June 12, 2018 in Singapore.
Kim and Trump during their summit at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island on June 12, 2018 in Singapore.

Kim has met Xi on four trips to China -- three to Beijing and one to Dalian. Kim's March 2018 trip to the Chinese capital was his first excursion trip outside North Korea since ascending to power.

He then visited Dalian in May and was back in Beijing in June shortly after his summit in Singapore with Trump. Kim also visited Beijing in January 2019.

Kim Jong Un, left, and Xi Jinping, right, are seen at a banquet in this photo released by North Korean state media from the two leaders' first meeting in March 2018.
Kim Jong Un, left, and Xi Jinping, right, are seen at a banquet in this photo released by North Korean state media from the two leaders' first meeting in March 2018.

South Korea's Moon has met Kim three times, all in 2018 -- twice at the demilitarized zone dividing the two Koreas and once in Pyongyang.

Kim shakes hands with Moon at the Military Demarcation Line that divides their countries ahead of their summit at the truce village of Panmunjom on April 27, 2018.
Kim shakes hands with Moon at the Military Demarcation Line that divides their countries ahead of their summit at the truce village of Panmunjom on April 27, 2018.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pose for photographs during a ceremony on Sept. 19, 2018 in Pyongyang.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pose for photographs during a ceremony on Sept. 19, 2018 in Pyongyang.

Kim has held two summits with Trump, one in Singapore in June 2018 and another in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi in February 2019.

Trump shakes hands with Kim before a meeting at the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in Hanoi on February 27.
Trump shakes hands with Kim before a meeting at the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in Hanoi on February 27.

On both those visits he also met the leaders of the host countries.

Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong welcomes Kim to the city-state ahead of the North Korean leader's summit with Trump last year.
Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong welcomes Kim to the city-state ahead of the North Korean leader's summit with Trump last year.

Kim and Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong pose for photographs at the President Palace in Hanoi on March 1.
Kim and Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong pose for photographs at the President Palace in Hanoi on March 1.

10:40 p.m. ET, April 24, 2019

North Korea replaces top official dealing with South Korea

From CNN's Sophie Jeong in Seoul

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo welcomes North Korea's  Yong Chol prior to a meeting in Washington, DC, on January 18.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo welcomes North Korea's Yong Chol prior to a meeting in Washington, DC, on January 18.

North Korea has ousted Kim Yong Chol as the head of relations with South Korea, said a South Korean government official on Thursday.

South Korean Lawmaker Lee Hye-hoon, the chairwoman of the National Assembly's Intelligence Committee, told local media that Kim had been removed from his position running the government's United Front Department sometime in mid-April.

The United Front Department manages with all things South Korea, including Pyongyang's relationship with Seoul and using propaganda to foment pro-North Korean views in the South.

Kim has also served as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's counterpart in nuclear negotiations with the United States and organizing the two summits between US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un.

It's unclear if Kim Yong Chol's role in talks with Washington has changed, as he still holds other important titles inside North Korea.

10:06 p.m. ET, April 24, 2019

Kim's train journey inside Russia took nine hours, per Russian state media

After entering Russia, it took Kim Jong Un about nine hours to get to the eastern port city of Vladivostok by train, according to Russian state-run news agency TASS.

Kim's train likely passed through a single-track railway along the borders of the "Land of the Leopard" National Park to a station in the city of Ussuriysk, TASS reported. That 260 kilometer-journey (162 miles) was believed to last about seven hours. 

From Ussuriysk, the train then linked to the Trans-Siberian Railway leading to Vladivostok. That portion of the journey is about 70 kilometers (43 miles) and expected to take two hours, according to TASS.