The denuclearization process of the Korean Peninsula depends on Russia playing a constructive role. The establishment of a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula can contribute not only to substantial advances in Korea-Russia relations but also to full-scale multilateral economic cooperation projects between the two Koreas and Russia, and toward peace and common prosperity in Northeast Asia and Eurasia.
As we know, the second North Korea-US summit failed to produce an agreement. However, I do not consider this meeting a failure. Rather, I believe that an agreement between North Korea and the US has been postponed to the third North Korea-US summit. On the positive side, this second North Korea-US summit was a good opportunity for the leaders of the two countries to clearly understand what their opponents are demanding. Therefore, if North Korea and the United States continue their dialogue in the future, the possibility of mutual agreement will increase. Now that the two countries understand each other’s demands more clearly, they can progress toward substantial agreements regarding what concessions they can make toward denuclearization and the lifting of sanctions. In conclusion, the second North Korea‒US summit can be considered a preparatory process for a higher level of denuclearization, and we look forward to seeing a third North Korea-US summit, within the year if possible.
Of course, it is difficult to predict what would be on the agenda of a North Korea-Russia summit. North Korea, however, is likely to propose an expansion of economic exchanges in non-sanction areas, namely, the expansion of tourism to North Korea. Russia, on the other hand, could propose to North Korea a faster denuclearization process as well as various railway, oil and gas pipeline and transmission line connection projects with South Korea passing through North Korea. We could also expect discussions on the results of the second North Korea‒US summit, denuclearization and lifting of sanctions against North Korea, the issue of overseas workers forced to return to North Korea by December 2019, and the issue of installing a new bridge pier for vehicles alongside the Korea–Russia Friendship Bridge over the Tumen River estuary.
The rapidly improving North Korea‒Russia relationship has an important role in the international relations of the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia. Therefore, after the second North Korea‒US summit at Hanoi, I believe that the roles of the neighboring countries including Russia will be important as we confirm the positions of North Korea and the US, and explore possible response measures. It is within this context that the possibility of holding a North Korea‒Russia summit is recently being discussed, and this is closely related to Chairwoman of the Federation Council Valentina Matvienko. Following her visit to North Korea in September 2018 she mentioned the possibility of a North Korea‒Russia summit. However, at this stage, it is practically impossible to predict the timing and venue of a North Korea‒Russian summit, or the agenda and the extent of measures to improve relations between the two sides.