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N Korea at crossroads

Kim Jong Un plays hard to get with Putin

Better ties with Beijing have weakened Moscow's hand on the Korean Peninsula

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, right, meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang in May. (North Korea's Korean Central News Agency)   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov visited Pyongyang on Wednesday, laying the groundwork for the first summit between Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Russia, which wants to be involved in North Korea's denuclearization, has invited Kim to visit and repeatedly proposed that he hold talks with Putin. But the geopolitical dynamics surrounding North Korea are in flux and Kim has not yet responded.

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