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N. Korea's Kim to make 3-day visit to Russia from Wed.: sources

This combined photo shows Kim Jong Un, left, and Vladimir Putin. (Kyodo)

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia (Kyodo) -- Final arrangements are being made for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to visit Russia for three days from Wednesday next week, it was learned Thursday from official sources of both countries.

Kim will be traveling to the country by special train and hold his first summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Russky Island off the city of Vladivostok, according to the sources.

A team of North Korean security staffers is scheduled to arrive in Vladivostok next Tuesday on a special flight operated by the country's national carrier Air Koryo, a Russian government official has said.

The group may be part of the security detail for Kim's visit, his first to Russia since taking power.

Russky Island was the venue of the leaders' meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum hosted by Russia in 2012.

A separate Russian government official said a high-level North Korean official is currently in Vladivostok. The North Korean is believed to be Kim Chang Son, a close aide of Kim Jong Un.

Putin in May last year invited the North Korean leader to visit Russia.

An adviser to Putin told Russian media on Wednesday that preparations are underway for a Putin-Kim summit, but declined to specify a date for it.

Putin is expected to attend an international forum on China's Belt and Road Initiative to be held in Beijing on April 25-27.

Vladivostok airport staff said the special Air Koryo flight is due to arrive from Pyongyang on Tuesday morning and return to the North Korean capital later that day.

A Russian government official said a large group of people including those responsible for security will be visiting on Tuesday, suggesting the travel is related to preparations for Kim's visit.

Kim Jong Un's late father, Kim Jong Il, was the last North Korean leader to visit Russia, doing so in August 2011.

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