North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pledged “full support and solidarity” to Russian President Vladimir Putin in an effort to strengthen the two country’s growing alliance, North Korean state media reported on Monday.
Kim called for “closer strategic cooperation” and congratulated the Russian people on their national day, which is a holiday that celebrates Russia’s declaration of sovereignty from the Soviet Union in 1991. Kim also took the opportunity to commend Putin for his war efforts against Ukraine, the report from North Korean state media said.
“Thanks to your correct decisions and guidance, the struggle of Russian people to foil the hostile forces escalating threats and challenges to deprive Russia of its sovereignty, security and peaceful life has entered a new decisive phase,” said Kim in his message. “Justice is sure to win, and Russian people will continue to add glory to the history of victory.”
“I affirm my willingness to strive for closer strategic cooperation between the DPRK and Russia, hand in hand with you, in conformity with the common desire of the peoples of the two countries to fulfill the grand goal of building a powerful country and reliably defend global peace and security, Kim said.
In September 2022, Russia purchased millions of artillery shells and rockets from North Korea, a report from U.S. intelligence found. Both countries have denied this. It was also reported in March of this year that Russia was sending food to North Korea in exchange for weaponry, amidst North Korea’s food shortage.
Putin and Kim had previously met in 2019, where Putin said the two had a “substantial discussion” regarding the Korean Peninsula.
“The DPRK-Russia friendship, which has weathered all trials of history generation after generation and century after century, is a precious strategic asset of the two countries and it is the firm stand of the DPRK government to continue to develop the good neighborly and cooperative relations, as required by the new era,” Kim said in his message.
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