The Korea Herald


Russian Foreign Minister meets N. Korea's Kim, reaffirms solidarity with Pyongyang

By Yonhap

Published : Oct. 19, 2023 - 22:12

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North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui (right) talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during a reception in Pyongyang on Wednesday. (Korean Central News Agency) North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui (right) talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during a reception in Pyongyang on Wednesday. (Korean Central News Agency)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Moscow's foreign ministry said Thursday, as the top diplomat vowed "complete solidarity" with Pyongyang during his trip to the reclusive country, which came a month after a rare summit between their leaders.

Lavrov, who arrived at Pyongyang for a two-day visit Wednesday, met with Kim in a meeting that lasted over an hour, Russia's foreign ministry said, without providing further details.

North Korea's state media has yet to report on their meeting.

Their meeting followed the summit between Kim and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Russia's Far East on Sept. 13, as the two countries move to strengthen military ties amid speculation over their suspected arms deal.

The United States said last week that North Korea has delivered more than 1,000 containers of military equipment and munitions to Moscow for use in its war in Ukraine amid speculation that Kim and Putin may have struck a deal during their summit.

Lavrov also met with the North's foreign minister, Choe Son-hui, and discussed a range of issues in developing their bilateral ties, and vowed to "resist the hegemonic aspirations of the United States," according to the Russian news agency Sputnik.

Also discussed during their meeting was the schedule of political contact, according to Sputnik, amid speculation over Putin's possible reciprocal visit to Pyongyang. Putin last visited Pyongyang in July 2000.

Lavrov, who visited Pyongyang at the invitation of Pyongyang's foreign ministry, invited Choe to visit Moscow at a "convenient time," according to Russian media.

Speaking at a reception Wednesday evening, Lavrov said his visit would serve as a "significant occasion of bringing substantial results" for the implementation of the agreement made at the recent summit, according to the North's official Korean Central News Agency.

He added that Russia "fully supports" all of North Korea's policies adopted to defend its national interests, calling North Korea a genuine independent state "unfazed by any pressure of the U.S. and the West."

Lavrov also thanked Pyongyang for supporting its "special military operation" in Ukraine, according to a transcript of his speech released by Russia's foreign ministry on its website.

North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui expressed expectation that the "comprehensive and constructive relations" between the two countries would be expanded on a higher level during Lavrov's visit.

The KCNA earlier said Lavrov arrived in Pyongyang "amid the enthusiasm of friendship growing higher than ever."

Lavrov earlier said he plans to visit Pyongyang in October to discuss follow-up measures to the Putin-Kim summit. The Kremlin said last month that Putin had accepted Kim's offer to visit North Korea during the summit held at Russia's Vostochny spaceport.

Seoul's foreign ministry urged North Korea and Russia to cooperate toward a path that helps bring "peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula," saying it is "keeping close tabs" on the visit.

"North Korea will never be recognized as a nuclear-weapon state regardless of its actions and assertions, and the sanctions of the international community will only deepen," ministry spokesperson Lim Soo-suk said in a press briefing.

He also stressed that the North's nuclear and missile program is a clear violation of the U.N. Security Council resolutions. (Yonhap)