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North Korea’s Kim says his visit shows ‘strategic importance’ of Russia relations

SEOUL – North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un has said that his visit to Russia is a clear show of the “strategic importance” of the two countries’ relations, the North’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Wednesday.

Mr Kim arrived in Russia by private train on Tuesday for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, amid warnings from Washington that the two countries should not trade weapons.

“Kim Jong Un said that his visit to the Russian Federation… is a clear manifestation of the stand of the WPK and the government of the DPRK prioritising the strategic importance of DPRK-Russia relations,” the KCNA report said.

DPRK stands for the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, while WPK is the Workers’ Party of Korea, the sole ruling party in the reclusive country.

Images released by KCNA show Mr Kim arriving at the train station in the Russian border town of Khasan on Tuesday morning and being greeted by senior officials from Moscow and elsewhere.

He is also shown meeting Russian Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology Alexander Kozlov.

Mr Kim’s movements since then have been unclear, but Japan’s Kyodo News and South Korean media have reported that he might meet Mr Putin at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in eastern Russia on Wednesday afternoon.

The trip marks Mr Kim’s first visit to Russia in nearly four years and his first foreign visit after the “worldwide public health crisis”, according to KCNA, referring to the Covid-19 pandemic.

His visit seeks to put DPRK-Russia relations of friendship and cooperation on a “fresh higher level”, the report said. REUTERS

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