Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin likely to meet

Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images(MOSCOW) — The Kremlin has reportedly said that Russian President Vladimir Putin will most likely meet with President Donald Trump at an economic summit in Vietnam later this week, and that both sides are discussing the timing.

“The relevant services are trying to choose the most suitable time and format,” Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters in a daily briefing call, Interfax reported.

Peskov said the “likelihood is great” that the two leaders will meet.

The meeting would take place at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit that starts Wednesday in Danang, Vietnam, which Trump will attend as part of his 13-day Asia tour. At the beginning of his trip, Trump said he expected to meet with Putin and wanted to enlist him in his effort to resolve the North Korea nuclear crisis.

“We want Putin’s help on North Korea,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One while flying to Japan Sunday.

Any meeting between Putin and Trump will attract intense attention due to recent developments in U.S. special counsel Robert Muller’s investigation into Russian involvement in the U.S. presidential elections.

Trump and Putin first met in July at a G-20 summit in Germany, where they spoke for two hours. Trump said he had directly confronted Putin over Russia’s meddling in the U.S. election. Both men expressed enthusiasm about the meeting afterward.

After a summer of exchanging fiery rhetoric with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un, Trump said putting an end to the standoff over the country’s nuclear arms testing is at the top of his agenda.

Trump appears to view Russia as a key factor in achieving that.

Though Moscow is opposed to North Korea’s nuclear arms program and has supported U.N. sanctions against the country, it has also criticized the United States over its threats to North Korea.

“The policy of putting pressure on Pyongyang to stop its nuclear missile program is misguided and futile,” Putin wrote in an article published in September.

The issue should be “resolved by direct dialogue of all the parties concerned without any preconditions. Provocations, pressure and militarist and insulting rhetoric are a dead-end road,” he said.

Putin has also said he opposes further sanctions, saying he believes there are no more to apply that will be effective.

Earlier this year, the United States sanctioned four Russian companies accused of facilitating North Korea’s missile program. In October, it was revealed that a telecom company affiliated with a Russian state firm had established a new internet connection for North Korea.

The new connection supplements the only previously existing one, provided by China, and gives North Korea greater protection against potential cyberattacks from the United States.

Asked last week about the telecom firm and allegations that Russia is assisting North Korea, a spokeswoman for Russia’s foreign ministry, Maria Zakharova, said Russia was not in violation of U.N. sanctions.

“Russia is not violating any relevant UNSC [U.N. Security Council] resolutions. We have not applied additional sanctions in relation to North Korea,” she told ABC News.

“Our implementation of sanctions is unshakeable,” Zakharova said. “But along with that we are also pursuing the development of relations with North Korea.”

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