Putin to visit NKorea for first time in 24 yrs

Putin to visit NKorea for first time in 24 yrs

Moscow, June 18 : Ahead of his first visit to Pyongyang in 24 years, Russian President Vladimir Putin has showered praises on the Kim Jong-un regime of North Korea for “firmly supporting” Moscow’s war in Ukraine.

Putin is expected to arrive in Pyongyang to meet Kim Tuesday later.

The two leaders last met in September at the Vostochny cosmodrome in Russia’s far east, but this is Putin’s first visit to Pyongyang since 2000, the BBC reported.

In a letter published in North Korean state media, Putin promised to build trade and security systems with Pyongyang “that are not controlled by the West”.

President Putin also vowed support for Pyongyang’s efforts to defend its interests despite what he called “US pressure, blackmail and military threats”, in the article printed in Rodong Sinmun, North Korea’s ruling party mouthpiece.

He said the two countries would continue to “resolutely oppose” what he described as Western ambitions “to hinder the establishment of a multipolarised world order based on mutual respect for justice”, the BBC report said.

The US said it was concerned about the “deepening relationship between these two countries”.

The Kremlin has described the event as a “friendly state visit” with Russian media reporting Putin and Kim may sign a partnership agreement, including on security issues, and will give joint statements to the media.

A parade in Kim Il Sung square is anticipated, the BBC said. Putin is also expected to watch a concert and visit the Orthodox Church of the Life-Giving Trinity in Pyongyang, the only orthodox church in North Korea.

There are reports Putin will stay at the Kumsusan guesthouse in Pyongyang, where Chinese leader Xi Jinping last stayed during his state visit to North Korea in 2019.

Putin is expected to arrive with his new defence minister, Andrei Belousov, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak.

During their meeting last year, Putin said he saw “possibilities” for military cooperation with North Korea, while Kim wished Russia’s president “victory” in Ukraine.

The White House expressed concern. “We’re not concerned about the trip. What we are concerned about is the deepening relationship between these two countries,” US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Monday.

Ties between Russia and North Korea have increased in recent years, especially since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Putin was slated to proceed to Vietnam next.

UNI

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