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N. Korea touts close ties with Russia on anniv. of late leader's trip to Far East

All News 16:30 August 23, 2022

SEOUL, Aug. 23 (Yonhap) -- North Korea on Tuesday highlighted its "consistent" position to develop friendly ties with Russia as it marked the 20th anniversary of late leader Kim Jong-il's high-profile trip to the Russian Far East.

Pyongyang has recently been seen closing ranks with its two traditional partners, Moscow and Beijing, amid stalled inter-Korean relations and a deadlock in nuclear talks with the United States.

"It is the consistent position of the government of our republic to comprehensively develop the traditional relations of friendship between the DPRK and Russia," Vice Foreign Minister Im Chon-il said in a statement posted on the ministry's website. DPRK stands for the North's official name, Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"The history of the DPRK-Russia friendship will go down forever century after century," the official added.

In August 2002, Kim, the father of current leader Kim Jong-un, visited the Far East after traveling to Moscow for the first time the previous year.

Im pointed out the visit opened a "new chapter" in bilateral relations and realized economic cooperation plans, like the modernization of a railway linking the North's port city of Rajin and Russia's border town of Khasan.

The vice minister then praised the current leader for "carrying on the will of" his father in boosting bilateral ties with Russia, saying the two countries' relations have "entered a new stage of development."

Despite international condemnation of Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, the reclusive regime threw support behind Moscow and blamed the war in Ukraine on the "hegemonic policy" of the U.S. and the West.

julesyi@yna.co.kr
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