North Korea says Putin willing to visit Pyongyang

 Russian President Vladimir Putin has shown his willingness to visit Pyongyang in the near future, according to North Korean state media on Sunday.

Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui met with Putin during a visit to Russia between Jan. 15-17, according to a summary of the visit published by KCNA.

“President Putin expressed deep thanks once again for the invitation of President of the State Affairs Kim Jong-un to visit Pyongyang at a convenient time and expressed his willingness to visit [North Korea] at an early date,” it said.

Choe’s visit to Russia, which included meetings with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, occurred “at a time when the friendly and cooperative relations between the two countries have definitely entered the course of a new comprehensive development,” KCNA said.

The recent trip of the North Korean foreign minister served to continue measures to implement agreements reached during the September summit in Russia between Putin and Kim, and to deepen bilateral exchanges and cooperation “in all fields this year,” the 75th anniversary of the conclusion of their bilateral agreement on economic and cultural cooperation.

The North Korean regime also assured that both sides “had deep strategic communication” and have committed to strengthening their tactical cooperation “in defending the core interests of the two countries and establishing a new multi-polarized international order based on independence and justice.”

Both countries shared their concern “over the negative influence of the U.S. and its allied forces’ irresponsible and unjust provocative acts, which seriously threaten the security environment of the Korean peninsula,” and agreed to deal with it “through close cooperation.”

Among other points, Pyongyang praised Russia’s “important mission” of serving to maintain “strategic stability and balance of the world” to which Moscow showed its “deep thanks” for the “full support and solidarity” shown by the North in its “special military operation in Ukraine,” a phrase it uses to describe its invasion of the neighboring country.

Pyongyang has been supporting Russia’s war in Ukraine and is believed to have been supplying it with ballistic missiles in exchange for Moscow providing military assistance in other areas, at a time when North Korea is focused on its weapons development and has led to new levels of belligerence towards Washington and Seoul.

By Nadeem Faisal Baiga