The Latest on the summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (all times local):

2 p.m.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have shaken hands before heading to talks at a university in Russia’s far-eastern city of Vladivostok.

TV coverage showed Kim arriving in a limousine before shaking hands with Putin. Putin smiled and gestured to Kim before they both walked inside the building.

Putin then introduced Kim to Russian officials who shook his hand.

Thursday’s summit reflects Russia’s effort to position itself as an essential player in the North Korean nuclear standoff.

Kim’s first trip to Russia comes about two months after his second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump, which failed because of disputes over U.S.-led sanctions on the North.


12:30 p.m.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Vladivostok for a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Thursday’s summit reflects Russia’s effort to position itself as an essential player in the North Korean nuclear standoff.

Kim’s first trip to Russia comes about two months after his second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump, which failed because of disputes over U.S.-led sanctions on the North.

Putin and Kim are set to have one-on-one meeting at the Far Eastern State University on the Russky Island across a bridge from Vladivostok. The meeting will be followed by broader talks involving officials from both sides.

Kim arrived Wednesday in Vladivostok on his armored train, saying upon arrival that he’s hoping for a “successful and useful” visit.

Source: Fox News World

Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Vladivostok for a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Thursday’s summit reflects Russia’s effort to position itself as an essential player in the North Korean nuclear standoff.

Kim’s first trip to Russia comes about two months after his second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump, which failed because of disputes over U.S.-led sanctions on the North.

Putin and Kim are set to have one-on-one meeting at the Far Eastern State University on the Russky Island across a bridge from Vladivostok. The meeting will be followed by broader talks involving officials from both sides.

Kim arrived Wednesday in Vladivostok on his armored train, saying upon arrival that he’s hoping for a “successful and useful” visit.

Source: Fox News World

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin gives an intriguing twist to the global diplomatic push to resolve the nuclear standoff with North Korea, which appeared to hit a wall after a summit between Kim and President Donald Trump collapsed in February.

It also adds a chapter to the storied but often-strained friendship between Pyongyang and Moscow, which was forged in the blood of war and weathered by the Soviet collapse and tensions surrounding the North’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.

A look at relations between the two sides since the 1950-53 Korean War:



The old Soviet Union was directly involved in the founding of North Korea after the end of World War II, which ended Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula but resulted in a division between the Soviet-backed North and U.S.-controlled South.

Soviet officers installed ambitious young nationalist Kim Il Sung, the grandfather of North Korea’s current ruler and an ex-guerrilla commander who fought Japanese forces from Manchuria in the 1930s, as the Korean leader of the emerging state on the northern half the peninsula. By early 1950, Kim Il Sung successfully persuaded an initially reluctant Joseph Stalin to allow him to unify the Koreas by force, guaranteeing a swift victory.

Kim Il Sung’s forces launched a surprise attack on the South in June, triggering a devastating war that drew massive interventions by the United States and China and left millions killed or injured before stopping with an armistice in 1953.

The Soviets supported North Korea during the war with weapons, military advisers and pilots but stayed out of land warfare, a decision that shaped Kim Il Sung’s postwar efforts to strengthen his personal power and autonomy. Moscow’s support became less important for Kim’s internal control when he could count on China to counter the influence of the Soviets, especially after the late 1950s when relations between the two major communist powers grew increasingly hostile.

While playing Moscow and Beijing against each other to win more political independence and aid, Kim Il Sung consolidated his domestic power by violently purging his pro-Soviet and pro-Chinese opponents.



Despite the ups and downs in bilateral relations, Soviet military, energy and food aid were crucial in keeping North Korea’s struggling economy afloat for decades. That all changed in 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union, which instantly deprived Pyongyang of its main economic and security benefactor.

The post-communist government in Moscow led by President Boris Yeltsin saw Russia as a partner of the U.S.-led West and had no enthusiasm to continue supporting North Korea with aid and subsidized trade. Moscow established formal diplomatic ties with Seoul in hopes of drawing massive South Korean investment and allowed its Soviet-era military alliance with North Korea to expire. There were widespread predictions that a collapse of the North Korean government was imminent.

Facing an existential crisis, North Korea reacted by accepting more help from China, which despite a level of mutual distrust remains Pyongyang’s only major ally and considers preventing a North Korean collapse critical to its security interests. The North also became more vocal in its pursuit of a nuclear deterrent, which forced the United States to the negotiation table.

In 1994, shortly after the death of Kim Il Sung, North Korea reached a major agreement with the United States to halt plutonium production in exchange for energy and food aid and security assurances. The deal broke down in 2002 after U.S. officials confronted Pyongyang over a clandestine nuclear program using enriched uranium.



Russia began to reconsider its Koreas policies in the late 1990s over what it saw as disappointing business activity with South Korea and concerns that Moscow’s heavy tilt toward Seoul diminished its influence in international efforts to deal with Pyongyang. The divergence between Moscow and the West over key security issues was also becoming clear.

After his first election in 2000, Putin actively sought to restore Russia’s ties with North Korea, visiting Pyongyang in July that year for a meeting with Kim Jong Il, the second-generation North Korean leader, where they issued criticism of U.S. missile defense plans. The trip was seen as Putin’s message to the West that Russia would seek to restore its traditional domains of influence. Putin hosted two return visits by Kim Jong Il in 2001 and 2002.

Russia was also a participant in the so-called six-party talks with North Korea that were aimed at persuading the North to abandon its nuclear program in exchange for security and economic benefits. The talks, which also involved the United States, China, South Korea and Japan, have stalled since December 2008.



Kim Jong Un’s meeting with Putin is the first summit between the countries since his father traveled to eastern Siberia for a meeting with then-Russian President Dimitry Medvedev in August 2011.

Kim Jong Il died in December that year. Under Kim Jong Un, North Korea accelerated its weapons tests to turn a crude nuclear program into a viable arsenal that includes purported thermonuclear weapons and long-range missiles potentially capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.

The Trump-Kim meeting in Vietnam in February broke down after the North demanded the removal of most of the U.S.-led sanctions against the country in exchange for a partial surrender of its nuclear program. Kim had said he would seek a “new way” if the United States continued to test his patience with sanctions.

Kim’s outreach to Putin could be part of his plans to expand his options and secure allies who would apply pressure on Washington to ease its stance on sanctions. Russia currently seems better positioned to endorse Kim’s stance than China, which is locked in high-stakes trade negotiations with the U.S.

The summit with Kim could also serve Putin’s desire to increase Russia’s regional clout. Although Moscow has never supported a nuclear-armed North Korea, it may share a view with Pyongyang that a weakened U.S. influence in the region would benefit both.

Following three-way talks in Moscow last October, the deputy foreign ministers of North Korea, Russia and China called on the U.N. Security Council to “adjust” its sanctions regime on Pyongyang to facilitate progress in the nuclear negotiations. While Moscow and Beijing can’t lift the sanctions on their own, they can give Pyongyang more breathing room if Kim persuades them to loosen their enforcement of the measures.

Source: Fox News World

Puerto Rico’s governor is pledging to lift the U.S. territory from a deep recession by creating more jobs, reversing a migration exodus and implementing a range of incentives as the island struggles to recover from Hurricane Maria.

Gov. Ricardo Rossello spoke Wednesday during a nearly two-hour state of the commonwealth address that followed a brief power outage. He also said he plans to hold a yes-or-no referendum on statehood as he criticized President Donald Trump’s response to the Category 4 storm that hit September 2017.

Rossello also called on the U.S. Congress to review the way a federal control board overseeing the island’s finances has been operating as Puerto Rico’s government tries to restructure a portion of a public debt that exceeds $70 billion.

Source: Fox News World

Guatemala’s electoral court has annulled the candidacy of a presidential hopeful arrested in the U.S. last week and accused of ties to Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel.

The tribunal says its decision is due to “the notorious deeds that were revealed” in the case of Mario Amilcar Estrada Orellana. It’s applying a constitutional article concerning the suitability of candidates for elected office.

Estrada and an alleged accomplice were detained April 17 in Miami on drugs and weapons charges, accused of plotting to assassinate political rivals and let traffickers use Guatemalan ports and airports.

Estrada’s party has sought to distance itself from the allegations while asking for his presumption of innocence to be respected. Yoni Avila of the Union of National Change party said Wednesday that it would not appeal the ruling.

Source: Fox News World

More than 1,000 indigenous Brazilians gathered outside Congress Wednesday for an annual three-day campout to protest what they see as rollbacks of indigenous rights under President Jair Bolsonaro.

Tents dotted the lawn in front of the National Congress, where indigenous leaders sang, danced and sold crafts while wearing traditional feathered headdresses with their faces painted red and black.

The event, known as the Free Land Encampment, began its 15th edition with a sense of animosity toward Bolsonaro, whose policies indigenous leaders are calling the biggest setbacks to their peoples’ rights in recent history.

“This government came in immediately attacking us and our rights in a way we haven’t seen before,” said Paulo Tupiniquim, executive coordinator of the Articulation of Indigenous People of Brazil, which organized the event. “We are here to show that we will resist and will not accept our rights being taken away.”

The government has called in National Guard forces for security at the encampment as a “preventative measure.”

At the same event in 2017, police shot tear gas at the indigenous protesters who retaliated by shooting at them with bows and arrows.

“We are not violent. Violent are those who attack the sacred right to free demonstration with armed troops,” the organizers wrote in a statement protesting the National Guard presence. “They’re trying to take the right to come and go from Brazilians who have walked these lands since long before 1500” the statement read, referencing when European colonizers first came to Brazil.

Before becoming president, Bolsonaro promised that if he were elected, “not one more centimeter” of land would be given to indigenous groups and likened indigenous people living in reserves to caged animals in zoos.

On his first day as president, Bolsonaro transferred the authority to designate indigenous land and to grant environmental licenses for businesses on indigenous reserves from the government’s indigenous affairs agency to the agriculture ministry. Activists say the move will practically paralyze land allocations and facilitate operations for agribusiness and mining.

Bolsonaro’s health minister sparked protests across the country last month when he proposed eliminating the federal indigenous health care program and putting indigenous health care needs in the hands of municipalities. Indigenous groups say that the current program is designed to attend to their specific needs in indigenous languages.

“The government is completely anti-indigenous,” Joenia Wapichana, an indigenous congresswoman, told The Associated Press at the protest. “The government is not open to us. He is open to those who defend mining and land grabbing, which is his intention.”

Source: Fox News World

The train known as “The Beast” is once again rumbling through the night loaded with people headed toward the U.S. border after a raid on a migrant caravan threatened to end the practice of massive highway marches through Mexico

A long freight train loaded with about 300 to 400 migrants pulled out of the southern city of Ixtepec on Tuesday. They sat atop rattling boxcars and clung precariously to ladders alongside the clanking couplings. Most were young men, along with a few dozen woman and children. Mothers clambered up the railings clutching their infants. Migrants displayed a Honduran flag from atop the train.

The train known in Spanish as “La Bestia,” which runs from the southern border state of Chiapas into neighboring Oaxaca and north into Gulf coast state Veracruz, carried migrants north for decades, despite its notorious dangers: People died or lost limbs falling from the train. Mexican authorities started raiding the trains to pull migrants off in mid-2014 and the number of Central Americans aboard the train fell to a smattering.

But about a week ago, a longtime migrant rights activist, the Rev. Alejandro Solalinde, noticed a change: Large numbers of migrants started getting off the train in Ixtepec, the Oaxaca town where his Brothers on the Road shelter is located.

Many had waited weeks for Mexican visas that never materialized, and simply decided to head north without papers. Others were part of a 3,000-person migrant caravan that was broken up in a raid Monday by federal police and immigration agents on a highway east of Ixtepec.

With dozens of police and immigration checkpoints dotting the highways, many migrants now view the train as a safer, albeit still risky, way to reach the U.S. border.

“They’re riding the train again, that’s a fact,” said Solalinde, who shelter now houses about 300 train-riding migrants. “It’s going to go back to the way it was, the (Mexican) government doesn’t want them to be seen. If the migrants move quietly like a stream of little ants, they’ll allow them to, but they are not going to allow them to move through Mexico publicly or massively” as they did with the large caravans that began in October. In fact, Solalinde predicts “they’re not going to allow caravans anymore.”

In Monday’s raid, federal police and agents detained 367 people, wrestling men, women and children into patrol trucks and vans and hauling them off, presumably to begin deportation proceedings. Many other migrants abandoned the road and fled into the surrounding countryside.

The decision to turn to “The Beast” derives from several reasons, all related to the crackdown.

With throngs of police pickups and small immigration vans parked at checkpoints up and down the narrow waist of southern Mexico, hitchhiking, taking buses or walking is no longer an option. Truckers, warned by the government that they could face fines, no longer give rides to the migrants as they did last year. Migrants are pulled off buses, and rounded up off the sides of highways when they stop to rest.

“Now we’re going by train because we can’t go on buses, because they won’t let us through,” said Rudi Margarita Montoya, the wife of a Honduran carpenter, who was perched atop a freight car with her young son and daughter and her husband.

It’s not as if the migrants think the train is safe; they acknowledge the dangers of riding through the darkness perched high atop the freight cars. Just like increased U.S. border protection, Mexico’s increased enforcement efforts push migrants into using more dangerous means of travel.

Carlos Marroquín, a mechanic from El Salvador, and his wife Brenda Gómez, 24, clambered onto the train with their son, 5 and daughter, 10. Marroquin ticked off the dangers facing them on the rails: “There are drug traffickers, gangs, thieves, but we’re putting everything into this, because it means everything.”

“If we can’t walk, if we can’t take the bus, we’ll go on the train,” Marroquin said.

Denis Funes, a migrant from central Honduras whose sun-beaten skin and leathery hands betray his past as a farmworker, says he saw a fellow Honduran knocked off the train the previous night by a low-hanging branch that caught the man in the face and sent him hurtling to the tracks below. Funes and his companions could do nothing to help the man; the train was moving too fast to jump off. “He’s still back there somewhere,” Funes said. But he remains undeterred. “We’re going to rely on the train, despite everything we know that can happen to us.”

Gomez and many others were also driven to desperation by another change in Mexican policy. Whereas in late 2018 and early 2019 authorities were handing out humanitarian visas and processing asylum requests, they have now largely stopped doing so, instead making migrants wait weeks in the southern town of Mapastepec for visas that never seem to come.

Gomez said “They lied to us, they made us spend a month at the shelter, they told us they were going to give up papers but they never did.”

Enrique Valiente, a 19-year-old roofer from El Salvador who came to the U.S. at 3, spent much of his life in Nevada and was deported last May after a traffic stop. He said Mexico had flatly refused to consider him for asylum. He is afraid to return to his native country — which he knows little about and where he has almost no remaining relatives — because he isn’t familiar with complex rules of getting along with street gangs in El Salvador, and could fall afoul of them.

He doesn’t even plan to sneak back into the United States; his dream is to use his perfect English to find work at a call center in the border city of Tijuana. But he can’t do that without papers.

“I asked them to consider me for asylum and they just said ‘No, you’ve been rejected.”

The train was popular for years, back when “caravan” just meant small Holy Week demonstrations by migrants on the Guatemala-Mexico border. Now, the train is popular once again. Solalinde compared it to trying to squeeze off a leaky garden hose: Wherever Mexican authorities crackdown, the migrants find an alternate route.

“Nobody is ever going to be able to stop the flow of migration,” Solalinde said.

Source: Fox News World

The European Union’s ambassador to Cuba says the Trump administration’s crackdown on business with the communist government is causing unprecedented concern among European companies doing business on the island.

Ambassador Alberto Navarro tells The Associated Press that “there’s enormous worry.”

He says: “There are businesspeople who’ve been here 20, 30 years, who’ve made bets on investing their financial resources in Cuba to stimulate commerce, tourism, international exchange, and many of them tell me that they haven’t lived through a similar situation.”

The Trump administration announced last week that it would allow Americans to sue foreign companies whose partnerships with the Cuban government make use of commercial and industrial properties confiscated from Americans in Cuba’s 1959 revolution.

Source: Fox News World

The Latest on the summit between Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un (all times local):

6:40 p.m.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has arrived in Russia’s Vladivostok for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Kim arrived on his armored train, which pulled into the station in the Pacific port of Vladivostok Wednesday evening. He was greeted by a military orchestra before he got into his personal limousine that traveled with him, and drove away.

Kim’s Russia trip comes about two months after his second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump failed because of disputes over U.S.-led sanctions on the North.


9:55 a.m.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has arrived in Russia for his summit with President Vladimir Putin in the Pacific port city of Vladivostok.

Russian news agency Tass quoted a local official as saying Kim was given flowers, bread and salt at the Hasan train station after crossing the border.

Kremlin adviser Yuri Ushakov told Russian media Tuesday that the summit Thursday will focus on North Korea’s nuclear program.

Kim’s Russia trip comes about two months after his second summit with President Donald Trump failed because of disputes over U.S.-led sanctions on the North.

The state-run Korean Central News Agency said Kim was seen off by officials and residents as he left Pyongyang by his special train at dawn Wednesday.

Source: Fox News World

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin this week expands a diplomatic charm offensive that has included meetings with leaders from China, South Korea and the United States. Some key moments:

Jan. 1, 2018: In his New Year’s address, Kim calls for improved relations with South Korea and offers to send a delegation to the Winter Olympics there.

February 2018: North Korea sends hundreds of people to Pyeongchang Games in South Korea, including Kim’s sister, who conveys her brother’s desire for a summit with President Moon Jae-in.

March 7, 2018: After visiting Kim in Pyongyang, South Korean presidential envoy Chung Eui-yong says Kim is willing to discuss the fate of his nuclear arsenal with the United States. Days later, President Donald Trump accepts Kim’s invitation to meet following a conversation with Moon’s envoys.

March 27, 2018: Kim makes a surprise visit to Beijing for a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in an apparent move to strengthen his leverage ahead of his negotiations with Trump.

April 21, 2018: North Korea says it has suspended nuclear and long-range missile tests and announces plans to close its nuclear test site as part of a move to shift its national focus and improve its economy. Trump tweets: “This is very good news for North Korea and the World” and “big progress!”

April 27, 2018: Kim holds a summit with Moon. The leaders announce vague aspirational goals of a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula and permanent peace.

May 7, 2018: Kim meets Xi again in China and calls for stronger strategic cooperation between the traditional allies.

May 9, 2018: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visits Pyongyang to prepare for the planned Trump-Kim summit. North Korea releases three Americans who had been imprisoned, and they return with Pompeo to the United States.

May 24, 2018: North Korean diplomat Choe Son Hui releases a statement referring to Vice President Mike Pence as a “political dummy” for his critical comments on the North and saying it was up to the Americans whether they would “meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown.” Trump announces he’s pulling out of his summit with Kim, citing the North’s “tremendous anger and open hostility.”

May 26, 2018: Kim and Moon meet at a border village in an effort to revive the summit with Trump. Moon says Kim reaffirmed his commitment to denuclearize but also said he was unsure whether he could trust the United States to provide a credible security guarantee in return.

June 1, 2018: After meeting North Korean envoy Kim Yong Chol at the White House, Trump says his meeting with Kim Jong Un is back on for June 12.

June 12, 2018: Trump and Kim meet in Singapore, where they repeat the first inter-Korean summit’s vague statement on the peninsula’s denuclearization without describing when and how it will occur.

June 19, 2018: Kim visits Beijing for his third meeting with Xi, who praises the “positive outcome” of the Trump-Kim meeting.

Aug. 24, 2018: Trump cancels a scheduled trip to North Korea by Pompeo citing lack of “sufficient progress” on denuclearization.

Sept. 19, 2018: Kim and Moon hold their third summit in Pyongyang and the North says it’s willing to permanently dismantle its main nuclear complex in Yongbyon if the United States takes unspecified corresponding measures. The Koreas also vow to resume joint economic activities when possible, voicing optimism that international sanctions could end and allow such projects.

Jan. 1, 2019: Kim in his New Year’s speech says he hopes to continue his nuclear summitry with Trump, but also that he would seek a “new way” if the United States persists with sanctions and pressure against the North.

Jan. 8, 2019: Kim visits Beijing for his fourth summit with Xi, vows to “achieve results” on the nuclear standoff in his next summit with Trump.

Feb. 8, 2019: Trump announces the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, as the venue of his second summit with Kim.

Feb. 27-28, 2019: Trump and Kim’s second summit breaks down over what the Americans describe as excessive North Korean demands for sanctions relief in exchange for partial disarmament steps limited to the Yongbyon complex.

April 13, 2019: Kim says he is open to a third summit with Trump, but sets the year’s end as a deadline for Washington to offer mutually acceptable terms for an agreement.

April 23, 2019: North Korea says Kim will soon visit Russia to meet with Putin.

Source: Fox News World

Current track