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Putin to North Korea: Increased Trade Settled Outside of Western Mechanisms

Vladimir Putin arrived in Pyongyang. With Chairman of State Affairs of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Kim Jong-un. Credit:

Today, a leading daily in North Korea, Rodong Sinmun, published thoughts from Russian President Vladimir Putin about his upcoming visit to Pyongyang. As reported in English by Putin’s website, he said “We are also ready to closely work together to bring more democracy and stability to international relations. To do this, we will develop alternative trade and mutual settlements mechanisms not controlled by the West, jointly oppose illegitimate unilateral restrictions, and shape the architecture of equal and indivisible security in Eurasia.” Kim Jong Un, leader of the D.P.R.K., had met with Putin in September 2023, at the Vostochny Cosmodrome, in Russia’s Far East. Putin had last visited North Korea in 2000.

After alluding to Russia’s history in Soviet times—of liberating Koreans from Japanese occupation, of the first recognition of the D.P.R.K., of being the first to establish diplomatic relations, and of Russia’s major help in rebuilding North Korea after the devastating 1950-53 Korean War—Putin said, “Russia has incessantly supported and will support the D.P.R.K. and the heroic Korean people in their struggle against the treacherous, dangerous and aggressive enemy, in their fight for independence, identity and the right to freely choose their development path.”

The Russian President also referred to an increase in “people-to-people interaction” between the two countries, including “academic mobility between Russian and Korean higher education institutions, mutual tourist trips as well as cultural, educational, youth and sports exchanges—everything that makes communication between countries and nations people-centered, everything that enhances confidence and mutual understanding.”

The Russian delegation to Pyongyang could hardly be more impressive. The Kremlin reported that it includes Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, First Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov, Defense Minister Andrey Belousov, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko, Transport Minister Roman Starovoyt, space agency Roscosmos Director General Yuri Borisov, and Russian Railways CEO Oleg Belozyorov.