MOSCOW: The US special envoy for North Korea was due in Moscow on Wednesday (Apr 17) amid reports of a possible meeting in Russia next week between Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin.
The State Department said Stephen Biegun would be in Moscow on Wednesday and Thursday "to meet with Russian officials to discuss efforts to advance the final, fully verified denuclearisation of North Korea".
The visit came with Russian, South Korean and Japanese media reporting that Kim and Putin may soon have their first summit, in Russia's Far East.
Quoting diplomatic sources, Russian newspaper Izvestia reported Wednesday that the meeting would take place in Vladivostok before the Russian leader heads to China for an Apr 26-27 summit.
One of the sources warned that the plans could change, however, noting that Kim was an "impulsive person".
South Korean news agency Yonhap quoted diplomats in Seoul this week saying a meeting was being prepared.
On Wednesday, the agency reported that North Korea's flagship carrier Air Koryo had scheduled a special flight to Vladivostok on Tuesday next week.
Japan's Jiji Press, quoting a Russian diplomatic source, said it was "99 per cent" certain that Putin and Kim will meet next Wednesday in Vladivostok.
Asked earlier this week about reports of a meeting, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said one was "being prepared" but refused to comment on a possible date or venue.
Russia is keen to play a stronger role in international talks over North Korea's nuclear programme, which have seen Kim meet US President Donald Trump for two summits over the last year.