Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks to North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui at a welcome banquet held on Oct. 18, 2024, in Pyongyang. (KCNA/Yonhap)
The Kremlin announced Monday that Russian President Vladimir Putin is hoping to visit North Korea soon.
“North Korea is our closest neighbor and partner, with whom we are developing and intend to further develop partnerships in all areas,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said in regard to North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui’s visit to Russia during a press briefing on Monday.
A North Korean government delegation led by Choe departed Pyongyang on Sunday for an official three-day visit to Russia on Monday through Wednesday. Choe’s visit followed an invitation from Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who visited North Korea in October 2023. The two foreign ministers are scheduled to meet Tuesday to discuss avenues for bilateral cooperation.
Peskov didn’t rule out the possibility of Choe having an audience with Putin. “We look forward to intense and fruitful negotiations,” the Kremlin spokesperson said, noting that Russia and the North Korean delegation would discuss matters that came up during Putin’s summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Russian Far East last September.
Peskov also commented on the fact that Putin had accepted Kim’s invitation to visit North Korea during their summit last year. The spokesperson said that Putin hopes his visit to North Korea will take place “in the foreseeable future” and that the details of the schedule would be worked out through diplomatic channels.
If Putin’s reciprocal visit to North Korea is finalized during Choe’s stay in Russia, it will show that ties between the two countries are growing even stronger.
On a related topic, Russian diplomats reportedly gave South Korea advance notice of Choe’s plans to visit Russia.
An official from the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs addressed Choe’s visit to Russia during a meeting with reporters on Monday.
“We are closely monitoring the various contacts taking place between Russia and North Korea. Our government maintains the position that exchange and cooperation between Russia and North Korea should be conducted such that it serves peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula while complying with United Nations Security Council resolutions,” the Foreign Ministry official said.
By Shin Hyeong-cheol, staff reporter
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