VLADIVOSTOK, Russia (AP) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Il on Friday took time out from his round of visits to factories, military units and stores in Russia's Far East to discuss economics and international affairs with President Vladimir Putin.
Putin said the 3 1/2-hour talks in Vladivostok focused on economic development, and that the two leaders also exchanged views on the important international developments of the day, including the tensions between North and South Korea.
"I want to underline once again that Russia is prepared to contribute to the normalization of the situation on the Korean Peninsula," Putin said.
Kim did not speak to reporters. However, when he and Putin walked past, Kim smiled and spread his arms out widely in a gesture that appeared to indicate satisfaction and good spirits. Earlier, at the start of the meeting, he had pronounced himself "1,000 percent happy" with his trip to Russia.
Earlier in the day, Kim visited a seaport, a store and a bakery. The local Vostok Media news agency said Kim chose the Vladivostok Commercial Seaport because it was where Soviet troops boarded ships to depart for Korea for battles with the Japanese army during World War II.
Kim then proceeded to the Ignat department store. Vladivostok Mayor Yuri Kopylov, who accompanied Kim on his city tour, said the North Korean leader was interested in a department selling Russian Orthodox icons, and he bought Kim one as a present. According to Kopylov, Kim is going to build a small Orthodox church in Pyongyang and hang the icon there.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.