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N. Korean leader likely to visit Russia in November: S. Korean envoy

All Headlines 10:42 November 05, 2018

MOSCOW, Nov. 5 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's top diplomat in Moscow said Monday that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is likely to visit Russia in November.

South Korean Ambassador Woo Yoon-keun told reporters that Russia and North Korea do not appear to have reached an agreement on Kim's visit yet but the most likely time seems to be this month in consideration of several circumstances.

"Russia has asked for Kim's visit within this year and expects it to happen. But North Korea seems to be weighing the time and place while looking into the agenda and possible agreement with Russia," Woo said.

South Korean Ambassador to Russia Woo Yoon-keun speaks during an interview with South Korean correspondents in Moscow on Nov. 5, 2018. (Yonhap)

"With Kim's visit to South Korea also planned this year, North Korea appears to be dwelling long on the time of his Russian trip," Woo said.

In his visit to Pyongyang in late May, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov delivered President Vladimir Putin's wish for Kim to attend the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok in September or make a separate visit to Russia.

Russian Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, who visited Pyongyang to celebrate North Korea's 70th founding anniversary in September, said Kim's Russian visit could come within this year.

Woo said that separately from Kim's Russian trip, Putin's visit to South Korea is also planned for next year. He said his office plans to open talks with the Kremlin late this year or early next year to discuss Putin's South Korean visit in the first half of next year.

The ambassador said Seoul and Moscow will also begin negotiations to push for a bilateral free trade agreement in accordance with a summit agreement reached in June between President Moon Jae-in and Putin.

"Russia will be a very important stepping stone to provide us with an opportunity to advance into the continent depending on the progress of inter-Korean relations. We should make full use of Russia's potential, as bilateral relations have improved since Moon's inauguration," said Woo.

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