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(LEAD) N.K. officials attend Russian Embassy's exhibition, resume in-person diplomacy

North Korea 11:10 August 04, 2021

(ATTN: ADDS N.K's vice foreign minister's statement in paras 5-6)

SEOUL, Aug. 4 (Yonhap) -- North Korean officials attended a photo exhibition held by the Russian Embassy in Pyongyang and highlighted their cooperative ties, state media showed Wednesday, signaling Pyongyang's resumption of in-person diplomacy suspended due to the coronavirus.

The photo exhibition was held Tuesday "to mark the 20th anniversary of Chairman Kim Jong-il's historic visit to Russia and the 10th anniversary of his visit to the Siberian and the Far Eastern regions," according to the Korean Central News Agency.

Kim Jong-il, father of the current leader, Kim Jong-un, ruled North Korea until his death in 2011.

Participants, including Vice Foreign Minister Im Chon-il, praised the leaders' trips to Russia as "important events that made distinguished contribution" to advancing Pyongyang-Moscow relations, and ensuring peace and security in the region, it added.

In a statement posted on the foreign ministry's website, Im said North Korea and Russia have furthered their ties in various areas, including politics and business, and that the ties will continue to progress going forward.

"It is our republic government's firm stance that we will inherit and advance the friendly relations between North Korea and Russia boasting a long history and tradition from a strategic perspective, and in line with the demands of our time," he added.

North Korea claims to be coronavirus-free, but it has taken relatively swift and drastic antivirus measures since early last year, including sealing its borders and imposing strict restrictions on movement.

Signals have been detected that Pyongyang is resuming its long-suspended in-person diplomacy.

In June, North Korea sent its diplomats to a similar photo exhibition held at the Chinese Embassy in Pyongyang to mark the 2nd anniversary of Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to the country.

North Korean officials attend a photo exhibition held at the Russian Embassy in Pyongyang, in the photo disclosed by the Korean Central News Agency on Aug. 4, 2021. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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