North Korea says it is “ready to receive Vladimir Putin.”
North Korea is “ready to receive the closest friend of the Korean people with the utmost sincerity,” North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui told Vladimir Putin during a visit to Moscow, according to a statement from his office published Sunday morning by the official KCNA agency. Ms. Choe was in the Russian capital last week to meet the Russian president and his counterpart Sergei Lavrov.
Pyongyang and Moscow have recently strengthened their ties, including a rare visit by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to the Russian Far East in September 2023. Mr. Kim then invited the Russian president to travel to North Korea.
Mr. Putin “expressed his willingness to visit the Democratic People's Republic of Korea soon,” the press release carried by KCNA said. According to the same document, Russia conveyed its “deep gratitude (…) to North Korea for its full support and solidarity with the position of the Russian government and people on the special military operation in Ukraine.”
Senior Russian officials, including defense and foreign ministers, visited North Korea in 2023, raising fears of a possible arms deal. The White House recently accused Pyongyang of sending ballistic missiles and launchers to Russia.
Seoul, in turn, accused North Korea of supplying Moscow with more than a million artillery ammunition in exchange for information and assistance with military satellite technology. In November 2023, Pyongyang managed to put one of these spy devices into orbit.