The Korea Herald


N. Korea accepts Moscow's invitation for May visit: report

By 이우영

Published : Jan. 21, 2015 - 21:26

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SEOUL – North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has accepted Russia's invitation to visit Moscow in May, Russia's state media reported Wednesday.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a news conference in Moscow that "a positive signal has been received" from the North, apparently referring to Pyongyang's affirmative response to its invitation to the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to a May 9 ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, according to a report by Moscow's Itar-Tass news agency.

Kim Jong-un inspects an air force unit at an undisclosed place in North Korea. (Yonhap) Kim Jong-un inspects an air force unit at an undisclosed place in North Korea. (Yonhap)

If Kim flies to Russia, it would be his first foreign trip after taking office in 2011. His predecessors have never chosen Russia over China as their first destination for an overseas trip.

Details on Kim's possible trip are not known, including whether he will sit down for bilateral talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.  

"We have sent several dozen invitations. About 20 guests have already confirmed their presence, and we continue to receive responses from other countries," Lavrov was quoted as saying by the news agency.

The ceremonies for the 60th anniversary were attended by the leaders of the United States, Japan, France, Germany and China, according to the report.

Last week, a South Korean diplomatic source told Yonhap News Agency that it was "confirmed that North Korea gave a positive response to the Russian invitation."

North Korea is seeking to deepen both diplomatic and economic ties with Russia at a time when its political relationship with China remains frosty amid international pressure over its nuclear ambitions and dismal human rights record.

Putin is also eager to bolster ties with North Korea in an apparent move against America's pivot to Asia. Putin invited Kim to attend the ceremony during a meeting with Kim's special envoy, Vice Marshal Choe Ryong-hae, in November. (Yonhap)