Jun (Reuters) - MOSCOW, June 30 (Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong-il canceled a visit to Russia this week because of worries about security following media reports about the trip, Russia’s Kommersant newspaper reported on Thursday.
Russian authorities in the Far Eastern city of Vladivostok, 130 km (80 miles) from the North Korean border, had been making preparations for a possible visit by the secretive North Korean leader, a local official said this week.
But the unannounced plans for a summit between Kim and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev were abandoned at the last minute and the Kremlin said on Wednesday that Medvedev had no meetings scheduled with Kim.
Kommersant cited unidentified Kremlin sources as saying that Pyongyang had asked for a meeting but that Kim had canceled because the North Korean authorities were worried about security after media reports appeared about the trip.
“We were prepared for it (a meeting) because we use every opportunity for contact,” a Kremlin source was quoted as saying.
“The media reports that a summit could take place played a significant part in the change of mind by the North Korean authorities,” the source was quoted as saying.
Russia is a member of the long-stalled six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear program, though diplomats say Moscow has less influence with Kim than China.
Kim has made no public visit to Russia since 2002, when he met with then-President Vladimir Putin in Vladivostok. The North Korean leader has made several trips to China, Pyongyang’s closest big power ally, in recent years.
Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Angus MacSwan