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19 June


Mass media: Kim Jong-un ready to visit Russia

However, official North Korean counterparts not confirm this

Photo: AP

/NOVOSTIVL/ North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is likely to visit Russia in the near future following an invitation from President Vladimir Putin. This article appeared in The Korean Times.

"Our invitation has been handed over," Russia's TASS news agency quoted Kremlin presidential aide Yuri Ushakov as saying, Wednesday. "The dates will be agreed on. We are awaiting our North Korean counterparts' response."

As usual, the North has yet to report anything about Kim's possible Russia trip, but speculation is rampant in South Korea that the visit is imminent, as his de facto chief of staff, Kim Chang-son, visited Moscow and Vladivostok last month.

As Kim Chang-son is known as the key North Korean figure handling the young dictator's overseas travel, his recent Russia trip is seen as increasing the likelihood of the visit.

China and Russia have been the North's two biggest allies for decades. In particular, Kim has maintained close relations with Chinese President Xi Jinping for the past year while the denuclearization negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang were underway.

Last May, Russian President Vladimir Putin sent Kim an invitation to join the Eastern Economic Forum held annually in September in Vladivostok. But the regime's young leader did not participate in the meeting.