The Korea Herald


North’s Kim reaffirms ties with Russia envoy

US nuclear-capable bomber, deployed this week, would be first to ‘face annihilation,’ regime says

By Choi Si-young

Published : Oct. 20, 2023 - 16:12

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Pyongyang, North Korea on Thursday. (KCNA-Yonhap) North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Pyongyang, North Korea on Thursday. (KCNA-Yonhap)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said North Korea and Russia should deliver on their summit agreement in September and usher in a new, future-looking era for the next 100 years, at a meeting with the Russian foreign minister in Pyongyang on Thursday.

The two-day trip from Wednesday by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov came as Kim and Russian President Vladimir Putin seek to fight off what they see as a US-led isolation. The US warns of paying a price for arms deals it says are being reached between Moscow and Pyongyang. Russia wants weapons for its war in Ukraine and the North in return expects weapons technologies.

“Kim and Lavrov agreed to work together on proactively confronting the complexities of the regional and global political landscape and advance mutual interest,” the state-run Korean Central News Agency said Friday.

The same day, the Russian Foreign Ministry echoed a similar sentiment, saying that the two countries will step up efforts to deal with policies meant to bolster American hegemony in the region. Those policies are the reason regional stability has deteriorated, the ministry said.

The US in August hosted the South Korean and Japanese leaders at an unprecedented three-way get-together that has led to a security pledge. The three decided to share real-time data on North Korea’s missile launches, conduct regular drills to boost readiness and jointly respond to common security challenges.

Both the North, which defies United Nations sanctions on its nuclear weapons programs and refuses to return to disarmament dialogue, and Russia have demanded Washington and Seoul stop military exercises, which they say fuel tension. Pyongyang has also demanded sanctions relief to resume talks.

On Friday, the Unification Ministry in Seoul, which handles inter-Korean affairs, said South Korea still supports reopening negotiations without preconditions -- a stance shared by the US and Japan as the coalition has left open the possibility while imposing sanctions on the Kim regime.

“We reiterate the same position on the issue, again,” Kim In-ae, the ministry’s deputy spokesperson, said at a regular briefing when asked if South Korea was weighing in on remarks by Lavrov. The Russian envoy said Moscow backs setting up a “process to discuss security on the Korean Peninsula.”

Lavrov has yet to elaborate on what such mechanism would look like.

The North, deputy spokesperson Kim added, has to “find the right path” that would improve the livelihood of its people should the regime choose to expand exchanges with Russia.

The Kim regime slammed the US decision to deploy its B-52H Stratofortress, a nuclear-capable bomber, and F-22 Raptor, a stealth fighter, to South Korea amid a local defense exhibition showcasing high-tech military hardware. The first-ever joint air drills by Seoul, Washington and Japan are likely on Sunday when the event ends.

“This is an intended provocation for a nuclear war by the US,” the KCNA said in a separate commentary, referring to the exercises. Such strategic assets will be the first to “face annihilation,” it added.