In perhaps the least exciting news story of the day, Kim Jong-il travels to Russia to meet President Medvedev, shakes hands, says hello, and otherwise gets little done. As the FT reports:
[North Korea] want[s] to show they have countries to talk to and that they are realistic…Russia announced it would work with Pyongyang on studying a potential pipeline that could ship Russian gas to South Korea via North Korean territory. However, this pipeline has been stalled for years…[and] the agreement had “very little chance” of being implemented…No progress was made on the resumption of six-party talks.
Just because Russia and North Korea have each other to talk to doesn’t mean they have something to say. Without South Korea, neither Russia nor North Korea can organize the long-postponed but lucrative gas deal or restart the six-party talks. The two countries can’t even settle bilateral issues: the long-running dispute over North Korea’s Soviet-era debts to Moscow drags on.Leaders often try to look busy as a way of disguising their lack of control over events. Journalists often play along, but the careful news reader learns to pass this stuff by.