Russian President Vladimir Putin has notified North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that he is ready to hold a summit soon, according to greetings appearing on the front page of DPRK ruling party organ the Rodong Sinmun on Wednesday.
“I affirm that I am ready to meet you at an early date to discuss urgent issues of bilateral relations and important matters of the region,” Putin reportedly conveyed to Kim on the occasion of Korea’s Liberation Day.
The Russian President also mentioned his willingness to work with both North and South Korea to “continue to develop reciprocal cooperation including the realization of the tripartite project” involving the three countries.
In his response message to Putin, Kim did not address either the request for a summit or the so-called “tripartite project” involving South Korea.
Kim, instead, “noted that the valuable tradition that the peoples of the two countries struggled shoulder to shoulder against the common enemy in the arduous anti-Japanese war is the strong roots of the DPRK-Russia friendly relations.”
This “serves as a driving force to continuously develop the bilateral relations as required by a new era,” the North Korean leader added.
The exchange of greetings are carried in the Rodong each year on the August 15 holiday celebrating the two nations’ cooperation in fighting the Japanese before Tokyo’s surrender at the end of World War II.
The Russian President previously invited Kim to Russia in a letter passed by foreign minister Sergey Lavrov during a visit to Pyongyang in late May.
Recent months have seen extensive speculation that Kim may meet Putin at next month’s Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok, which will run from September 11-13.
Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov last Friday said, however, that Kim Jong Un had not yet confirmed his attendance at the EEF.
But with major celebrations planned in Pyongyang surrounding the DPRK’s 70th national day on September 9 and the expected attendance of numerous high-level delegations from nations with historic close ties to the DPRK, there is also speculation that the two could meet on this occasion as well.
Meanwhile, Russia continues to push for economic cooperation involving both Koreas, with Lavrov and South Korean foreign minister Kang Kyung-wha having discussed these issues during a meeting on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum earlier this month.
Officials from Russia and both Koreas recently participated in talks and inspections in both Rason in the DPRK’s northeast and across the border in Russia regarding railway cooperation and other projects.
One expert said the Russian President likely hopes to “push forward with ties to North Korea on an independent basis.”
“Given the fact that Kim has had two meetings with Xi Jinping, an exclusive bilateral meeting between the North Korean and Russian heads of state would allow Russia to be seen as an independent player in Korea in its own right,” said Anthony Rinna, an analyst on Russian foreign policy in East Asia for the Sino
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured image: KCNA/Kremlin, edited by NK News
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