Putin calls for closer cooperation with North Korea in message to Kim: Kremlin

AFP , Tuesday 15 Aug 2023

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday urged Moscow and Pyongyang to deepen ties, in a congratulatory message to the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un marking the country's National Liberation Day.

The statues of late North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il at Mansu Hill as North Korea
People leave after paying their respects before the statues of late North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il at Mansu Hill as North Korea marks its 78th National Liberation Day, commemorating the end of Japanese colonial rule at the end of World War II, in Pyongyang on August 15, 2023. AFP

 

Russia and North Korea -- both increasingly isolated from the West and weighted with sanctions -- have drawn closer since the Kremlin deployed troops to Ukraine and commenced large-scale hostilities last year.

"I am sure that we will continue to build up bilateral cooperation in all areas for the benefit of our peoples, in the interests of strengthening stability and security on the Korean Peninsula and in the Northeast Asian region as a whole," Putin said in a statement distributed by the Kremlin.

Putin said that it was during Korea's liberation from Japan and "harsh wartime" that groundwork was laid for close cooperation between Moscow and Pyongyang.

The Russian leader's statement came after his Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu last month hailed his country's partnership with North Korea during a meeting with his counterpart Kang Sun Nam in Pyongyang.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken responded to the visit saying that the United States believed Shoigu was in North Korea to secure supplies of weapons to aid Russian forces fighting in Ukraine.

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