The leaders of North Korea and Russia have agreed to unconditionally re-open the six-party talks aimed at denuclearizing the North.
On the fifth day of his first trip to neighboring Russia in nine years, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il met with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at the Sosnovy Bor military base near the eastern Siberian city of Ulan-Ude on Wednesday.
While Kim expressed appreciation to Medvedev for traveling far for the summit, the Russian leader said distance was no matter when addressing issues concerning neighbors and regional partners.
[Interview : Dmitry Medvedev, Russian President] "I hope you had an interesting time and that you have been able to see some of the things planned for you."
[Interview : Kim Jong-il, N. Korean leader] "Thanks for the special care and attention you have accorded us, President, we have had a very pleasant journey."
During the two hour discussion, the North Korean dictator said his country was ready to return to the multilateral negotiating table, adding that he intended to declare a moratorium on the testing and production of missiles and nuclear weapons.
Describing his talks with Kim as frank and substantial, Medvedev reportedly said there was an agreement to establish a special commission to promote the Moscow-proposed project to build a gas pipeline running through the North that would transport Russian natural gas to South Korea.
The deal, if struck, would allow the impoverished North to make about 100 million US dollars a year in transit fees.
Meanwhile, the two sides are reported to have also discussed some 11 billion dollars of debt North Korea owes the former Soviet Union.
Kim's special train, which left Ulan-Ude at around 7:20 p.m., local time, is now believed to be heading east of Siberia.
Choi You-sun, Arirang News.