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NK parliamentary speaker returns from trip to Russia

North Korea's parliamentary speaker returned home Friday from a trip to Russia to deepen bilateral ties, the North's media said.

Choe Thae-bok, chairman of the Supreme People's Assembly, the North's rubber-stamp parliament, arrived in Pyongyang earlier in the day after wrapping up his five-day trip to Moscow, the North's official Korean Central News Agency said. The KCNA did not provide details.

During his stay, Choe held talks with Sergey Naryshkin, the speaker of Russia's lower house of parliament and Valentina Matviyenko, the chair of the Russian parliament's upper chamber, according to separate reports by TASS Russia News Agency.

The topics included security issues on the Korean Peninsula, economic cooperation and other issues of mutual concern.

The visit came as North Korea has been moving closer to Russia at a time when its relations with China, the North's traditional ally and economic benefactor, have been strained following the North's third nuclear test in 2013.

North Korea and Russia have been boosting their economic cooperation by declaring 2015 as a year of friendship. They have agreed to increase exchanges of high-level officials this year. (Yonhap)