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Russia says US sought "advice" ahead of Trump-Kim summit on North Korea's nukes

Moscow -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday that the United States had asked Moscow's advice in dealing with North Korea ahead of a summit between President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader.

Mr. Trump and Kim Jong Un were expected to meet Thursday, possibly even the day before, in Vietnam's capital. Their first meeting last summer ended without substantive agreements on North Korea's nuclear disarmament.

Lavrov, who is also visiting Vietnam this week, said in comments carried by Russian news agencies on Monday that Russia believes that the U.S. ought to offer Pyongyang "security guarantees" for the disarmament deal to succeed. He also mentioned that "the U.S. is even asking our advice, our views on this or that scenario of" how the summit in Hanoi could pan out.

It was not immediately clear what discussions with U.S. officials Lavrov was referring to on Monday. The Trump administration has not confirmed any outreach to Moscow over the negotiations with the Kim regime.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin had not discussed the summit in Hanoi with Donald Trump directly. "They haven't spoken on the phone for a long time," Peskov said on Monday, commenting on Lavrov's earlier remark, according to Russia's state-controlled press. 

Lavrov said the United States was holding consultations with Russia on the North Korean issue -- including on the eve of the Trump-Kim summit. He noted that Russia was pushing for an "action for an action" approach to the talks between Washington and Pyongyang, and said that view appeared to be gaining support in Washington.

"At least, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov's contacts with his U.S. counterpart show that the U.S. is ready to ask about our view of a certain scenario concerning what is going to happen in Hanoi in a couple of days," Lavrov said.

Trump "not in a rush" to push Kim Jong Un to give up nuclear weapons

As CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy reported on Monday, President Trump declared North Korea no longer a nuclear threat following his first summit with Kim last summer, but since then the isolated regime has done little to move toward the goal of "denuclearization" that was agreed to during that meeting.

Just hours before departing for Hanoi, Mr. Trump appeared to lower his expectations, or at least the timescale for his expectations to be met, in the diplomatic process with North Korea. He said on Sunday that he was, "not in a rush. I don't want to rush anybody. I just don't want (nuclear or missile) testing."

Kim hasn't tested a missile or nuclear device since long before the Singapore summit in June of last year, but Mr. Trump's administration said right after that meeting that they expected North Korea to take immediate steps to start getting rid of its nuclear weapons. That, noted Tracy, has not happened, and it was still unclear just a day before Mr. Trump's arrival in Vietnam how much headway the U.S. expected to make -- if any -- in getting Kim to comply.

The month after Mr. Trump last met Kim, he sat down for another landmark bilateral summit -- with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Mr. Trump neglected to hold the Russian leader to account for his country's efforts to influence the U.S. democratic process in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election -- saving most of his criticism for America itself.

"I hold both countries responsible. I think that the United States has been foolish. I think that we've all been foolish. We should have had this dialogue a long time ago, a long time, frankly, before I got to office," Mr. Trump said during a joint press conference with Putin.

Trump lashes out over Russia reports

His handling of that top-level diplomatic overture appeared, according to a CBS News Poll conducted soon after the summit in Helsinki, to inspire little new confidence in Mr. Trump's handling of the relationship with one of the United States' most formidable adversaries. The results of the poll were sharply divided down partisan lines in the U.S., but overall only a third of Americans (32 percent) said they approved of the way Mr. Trump handled the summit with Putin.

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