September 10, 2018 / 11:20 AM / 2 months ago

North Korea leader says ball is now in U.S. court: Russian official who met him

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets with Valentina Matvienko, the speaker of Russia's upper house of parliament, at the office building of the WPK Central Committee in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this undated photo released on September 9, 2018 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). KCNA/via REUTERS

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A senior Russian official who met Kim Jong Un this weekend cited the North Korean leader as saying he did not plan any unilateral steps to denuclearize and was instead awaiting a U.S. response to steps he already took, Russia’s RIA news agency reported.

Valentina Matvienko, a Kremlin loyalist and speaker of the upper house of Russia’s parliament, met the North Korean leader in Pyongyang on Saturday.

Matvienko said Kim Jong Un had been polite and diplomatic in his remarks about U.S. President Donald Trump, RIA reported. She also quoted him as saying he hoped for Russian backing in weakening U.S. sanctions on North Korea.

Reporting by Polina Devitt; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg

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