Russia’s Putin arrives in North Korea, and Kim welcomes him

Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived at Pyongyang International Airport, marking the start of his two-day visit to North Korea, during which he is expected to have a lengthy face-to-face meeting with the Asian country's leader Kim Jong-un.

The Russian president arrived in the country on Tuesday evening, with most of the talks and events scheduled for the next day.

He was greeted at the airport by a delegation of North Korean officials, as well as plaques praising the friendship between the two nations, while the road leading from the airport was lined with Russian flags and portraits of Putin.

The Russian delegation includes numerous top officials, including Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, First Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov, Defense Minister Andrey Belousov, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko, and Transport Minister Roman Starovoyt, as well as Roscosmos chief Yuri Borisov, and the head of Russian Railways Oleg Belozyorov.

Putin and Kim are expected to sign a number of bilateral documents, with the Russian leader having earlier authorized the signing of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Agreement with North Korea, which outlines “the prospects for further cooperation” between Moscow and Pyongyang.

Putin’s last visit to North Korea was in 2000, when he met with Kim Jong-il, the father of the current leader. Kim traveled to Russia’s Far East last September, with the visit focusing on military and economic cooperation.

In the run-up to his visit, Putin stated Russia had consistently supported North Korea in its long “struggle against the treacherous, dangerous and aggressive enemy”, referring to the Western states. The Kremlin has also praised North Korea’s vocal support for Russia in the Ukraine conflict, noting that Pyongyang “understands the true reasons and the essence” of the crisis.

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