• Wednesday, July 17, 2024
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Putin hails ties with North Korea, discuss bilateral relations

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Russian President Vladimir Putin in the early hours of Wednesday arrived in North Korea with great fanfare from the host country for a two day state visit to discuss bilateral relations between them.

This will be his second visit to the Asian country in 24 years, his last visit was during the reign of Kim Jong II in 2000.

Putin was met with great fanfare for a welcome ceremony with his counterpart Kim Jong Un at Kim II Sung Square in the North Korean capital, where mounted soldiers, military personnel and children holding balloons cheered against the backdrop of large portraits of each leader.

Read also: Putin to host North Korea’s Kim Jong Un for high-stakes military aid meeting

The two leaders presented their respective officials and stood together as the Russian national anthem played before riding off standing shoulder to shoulder in an open-top limousine as they smiled and waved to the crowds.

This visit deepens concern by the West over the shared alignment between Russia and North Korea and their growing military cooperation. The relationship between North Korea and Russia deepened when Moscow began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

In remarks ahead of talks between the two, Kim voiced his “full support and solidarity with the struggles of the Russian government, military and the people,” pointing specifically to Moscow’s war in Ukraine “to protect its own sovereignty, safety and territorial stability.”

Read also: A Russia-NATO conflict just a step to World War III, Putin warns

“Situations continue to be complicated and ever-changing, but I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate that we will continue to strengthen and closely engage in strategic communication with the (Russian) leadership,” Kim added.

Putin hailed the countries’ ties as based on “equality and mutual respect,” and said an expected new bilateral agreement would “form the basis of relations between the two states for many years to come,” according to Russian state agency Tass. He also added that he hoped Kim would visit Moscow for their next meeting.