(ATTN: RECASTS lead, headline; UPDATES with more details throughout; REPLACES, ADDS photo)
By Chae Yun-hwan
SEOUL, Sept. 14 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to visit his country during their summit at Russia's spaceport, and Putin accepted the offer, Pyongyang's state media reported Thursday, as the two isolated countries seek to bolster ties.
Kim made the invitation at an official dinner with Putin on Wednesday after their summit at the Vostochny space center in Russia's Amur region, the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said, in their first meeting in over four years.
"At the end of the reception, Kim Jong Un courteously invited Putin to visit the DPRK at a convenient time," the KCNA reported in an English dispatch. "Putin accepted the invitation with pleasure and reaffirmed his will to invariably carry forward the history and tradition of the Russia-DPRK friendship."
DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the North's official name.
The summit came as Pyongyang has recently been seeking to bolster military ties with Moscow and doubling down on its weapons development amid growing security cooperation among South Korea, the United States and Japan.
During the meeting, Kim said his latest trip to Russia marks a "significant" occasion to raise cooperative bilateral ties to a higher level, according to the KCNA.
"It is the consistent stand of the DPRK government to attach utmost importance to the DPRK-Russia relations and invariably develop the tradition of deep-rooted friendship," Kim was quoted as saying by the KCNA.
The KCNA said the two sides discussed strengthening cooperation "on the common front to frustrate the imperialists' military threat and provocation," although it did not specify the discussion's details.
"They discussed with open mind the important issues and the immediate cooperation matters arising in defending the sovereignty and development and interests of the two countries," it said.
The talks were also joined by North Korea's Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui, Defense Minister Kang Sun-nam, Pak Jong-chon, a top military official, and others, according to the KCNA.
During the dinner reception, Putin noted that bilateral relations are invariably oriented to comradely and good neighborly relations as ever, the KCNA reported.
In response, Kim expressed his will to work for a "far-reaching" plan for bilateral ties with Putin, and "to dynamically promote the powerful nation-building cause in the two countries and realize genuine international justice," it said.
The KCNA added that Kim left for his next destination, without providing details. Putin earlier announced that Kim will travel to Komsomolsk-on-Amur and Vladivostok in Russia's Far East after the summit.
It marked Kim's first meeting with Putin since his visit to Vladivostok in April 2019.
South Korean and U.S. officials have expressed concerns over the meeting and a possible arms deal between the two countries that could assist Moscow's war efforts in Ukraine.
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