AFP : Russian President Vladimir Putin has accepted an invitation to visit North Korea from its leader Kim Jong Un, Pyongyang’s state-run KCNA news agency said Thursday.
At the end of a meeting between the two in Russia on Wednesday, “Kim Jong Un courteously invited Putin to visit the DPRK at a convenient time”, according to KCNA, which referred to the country by its official name.
“Putin accepted the invitation with pleasure and reaffirmed his will to invariably carry forward the history and tradition of the Russia-DPRK friendship.”
Kim told Putin on Wednesday he was sure Russia would win a “great victory” over its enemies, as Ukraine’s Western allies warned of a possible Russian arms agreement with North Korea.
Russia became a pariah in the West after launching full-scale hostilities in Ukraine last year and has looked to strengthen alliances with other leaders ostracised by democratic countries.
Putin praised the “strengthening of cooperation and friendship between our countries”, while hosting Kim at a Far East spaceport, and told reporters he saw “possibilities” for military cooperation with North Korea.
He had earlier said Moscow could help Pyongyang build satellites.
In Washington, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller had described any cooperation as “quite troubling and would potentially be in violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions”.
US officials and experts have said Russia is interested in buying North Korean ammunition to use in Ukraine.
While Kim was in Russia, Pyongyang fired two ballistic missiles on Wednesday, the South Korean military said, the latest in a string of sanctions-busting tests.