North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev have been meeting at a Siberian military base.
The 69-year-old North Korean leader rode an armoured train on his first visit to Russia in nine years.
Although talks with South Korea, Russia, China, Japan and the US collapsed in 2008 when Pyongyang walked out, Kim has visited China three times in less than two years.
His country is in poorer shape than ever; recent flooding has worsened its under-producing economy, but international aid now could prove an incentive for Kim to make concessions on the North’s much-criticised nuclear weapons programme.
Russia has promised 50,000 tonnes of grain to help Kim cope with shortages.