* Kim visits power plant in Far East region
* Expected to meet Medvedev in Ulan-Ude on Tuesday
* Talks likely to include pipeline, nuclear programme, aid
MOSCOW, Aug 21 (Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong-il
visited one of Russia's largest hydro power stations on Sunday,
Russian news agencies said, part of a tour of the country's Far
East before talks with President Dmitry Medvedev.
The reclusive leader, who arrived in Russia on Saturday on a
special armoured train, met the Kremlin's regional envoy, Viktor
Ishayev, and several local officials, Interfax news agency said.
Kim has sought help from regional powers in recent months
for his impoverished nation, struggling with recent floods and
economic sanctions. After reportedly securing Chinese food aid
and investment in May, he is also likely to ask Russia for
He is expected to hold talks with Medvedev in Ulan-Ude, near
Lake Baikal on Tuesday, although the Kremlin's terse statement
on Saturday did not say when or where the meeting would take
Kim's visit to the Bureyskaya hydro-electric power station
in Amur province, where he watched a film on the plant and
toured its dam, has fuelled speculation that the two countries
could discuss energy cooperation, South Korean news agency
Yonhap Seoul reported on Sunday.
The energy talks may include relaunching plans to construct
a pipeline to supply natural gas from the Russian Far East to
South Korea, via North Korea, which the agency said could earn
Pyongyang $500 million a year in handling charges.
The pipeline plans have been on hold due to a standoff in
ties between North and South Korea despite Russian gas monopoly
Gazprom signing a memorandum of understanding with the
state-run Korea Gas Corporation, KOGAS , in 2008.
Kim's trip to Russia, his first since 2002, comes weeks
after rare talks between Pyongyang and Washington on the
resumption of stalled negotiations to end North Korea's nuclear
The six-nation negotiating group includes Russia -- once a
close ally of North Korea but more distant after the collapse of
the Soviet Union in 1991.
(Writing by Lidia Kelly; editing by Elizabeth Piper)