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Russia closes Vladivostok school building ahead of Kim, Putin summit

By Elizabeth Shim
Russia closes Vladivostok school building ahead of Kim, Putin summit
Kim Jong Un could be traveling to Russia next week, according to multiple press reports. Photo by KCNA/UPI | License Photo

April 18 (UPI) -- Kim Jong Un could be visiting Russia next week to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a Japanese press report.

The North Korean leader is expected to travel to Vladivostok in the Russian Far East and meet Putin on Russky Island for their first summit, Japan's Kyodo News reported Thursday.

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Russian news service Ria Novosti reported Wednesday a sports complex building on the campus of Vladivostok's Far Eastern Federal University was closed; signs at an information desk on site indicated Kim's visit and "technical issues" are the reasons for the shutdown of the building.

A source at the university told the Russian news service "Putin's visit and the summit" are the reasons for the closure.

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Japanese news service Fuji News Network reported Kim Chang Son, vice chairman of North Korea's state affairs commission, was seen inspecting the site.

If the summit takes place, the meeting will mark the first time Putin is meeting with a North Korean leader since Kim assumed power. Kim's father, Kim Jong Il, visited Russia in 2011. He died in 2012.

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Russia has supported the lifting of North Korea sanctions, which have built pressure against Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons program.

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Kim recently oversaw the test of what North Korea described as a "new type of tactical guided weapons with a powerful warhead."

South Korea's unification ministry could be taking the development seriously. Seoul said Thursday they are monitoring the situation closely, Seoul Pyongyang News reported Thursday.

The ministry also said the two sides have set up a "24-hour communication system" at the inter-Korea liaison office in Kaesong, North Korea.

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The two sides are cooperating closely through the channel, the ministry said, adding civic exchange continues between the two sides.

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