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Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un Working Towards Closer Ties Between Russia & North Korea

The North Korean leader said the two countries were strengthening their "strategic and tactical cooperation and support and solidarity" in view of threat from military of enemies.

Putin Kim Jong Un
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (R) exchanged messages with Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and celebrated their strengthening ties.

New Delhi: Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that closer ties with North Korea would help bring stability in the region, North’s state media reported on Monday. Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un exchanged messages on Korea’s 77th independence anniversary and celebrated the strengthening of bilateral ties.

August 15 marks the anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japan after 35 years of colonial rule. On this day, Japan surrendered from World War II in 1945.

Kim Jong Un also hailed the ties between the two nations saying the relations were forged by the Soviet contributions in Japan’s World War II defeat, North’s official Korean Central News Agency reported. The North Korean leader said the two countries were strengthening their “strategic and tactical cooperation and support and solidarity” in view of threat from military of enemies.

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North Korea, which has chosen to side with Russia, has time and again blamed the United States for the crisis in Ukraine. It further backed Putin’s decision saying the West’s “hegemonic policy” justified Russia’s offensive in Ukraine to protect itself.

North Korea has been expediting its efforts to expand its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles programme as Kim sees this as a guarantee of survival. In 2022, the country has ramped up its testing activity further with more than 30 ballistic missiles launched so far. This year also saw its first demonstrations of intercontinental ballistic missiles since 2017.

With the UN Security Council divided and paralysed over Russia’s war on Ukraine, Kim Jong Un hopes to exploit the current sentiments which may be favourable to his weapons programme and push it forward.

The US meanwhile has threatened North Korea with additional sanctions if it would conduct another nuclear test. However, the US-sponsored resolutions at the UN Security Council to increase sanctions on North Korea were vetoed by China and Russia recently.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol on Monday offered “audacious” economic assistance to North Korea if it abandons its nuclear weapons programme. In a televised speech celebrating the end of Japan’s colonisation of the Korean Peninsula, Yoon, a conservative who took office in May, said North Korea’s denuclearisation would be key for peace in the region and the world.

If North Korea halts its nuclear weapons development and genuinely commits to a process of denuclearization, the South will respond with huge economic rewards, including aid in agriculture, infrastructure, international investment, among others.

(With inputs from PTI/AP)