Medvedev holds talks with Kim Jong-il

August 24th, 2011 - 3:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Moscow, Aug 24 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is holding talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in a closed military town in the south Siberian region of Buryatia.

Kim, who is on a visit to Russia, met Medvedev in a hotel in Sosnovy Bor town.

The meeting is expected to concentrate on Pyongyang’s nuclear programme, energy and possible food aid for North Korea.

Talks would also include a discussion of North Korea’s $11 billion debt to the former Soviet Union, Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergey Storchak said.

“First of all they should recognise Russia as the Soviet Union’s successor,” Storchak said.

North Korea is also currently in negotiations with Russian gas giant Gazprom about a pipeline that would be laid through its territory to neighbouring South Korea. Reports suggest such a deal could be worth around $100 million a year for North Korea.

The North Korean leader is on his first visit to Russia since 2002. He arrived in an armoured train Saturday. Rail travel is Kim’s preferred mode of transport, due to a reported fear of flying.

On Tuesday, Kim visited Siberia’s Lake Baikal and a helicopter plant. He told journalists his journey through Russia’s Far East and Siberia had been “pleasant”.

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