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N. Korea's Politburo discusses implementing Kim's Russia trip outcomes

Sept. 22, 2023 - 13:48 By Ji Da-gyum
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (center, rear) presides over a Politburo session of the Workers' Party of Korea in Pyongyang on Wednesday to discuss the outcome of his latest summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in this photo released by the North's official Korean Central News Agency on Friday. (Yonhap)

North Korea held a Politburo meeting on Wednesday to discuss leader Kim Jong-un's recent visit to Russia and subsequent actions required to put the trip's outcomes into effect, state-run media reported Friday.

Kim made his first public appearance following his extensive 10-day overseas trip by participating in a Political Bureau meeting at the headquarters of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea in Pyongyang.

During the meeting, Kim Song-nam, the director of the International Affairs Department of the ruling party, provided a detailed briefing on Kim Jong-un's visit to the Russian Far East Sept. 12-17 at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The department director emphasized that the visit "has elevated DPRK-Russia relations to a strategic level, aligning with the requirements of the new era and causing a significant transformation in the international geopolitical landscape." DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, North Korea's official name.

Furthermore, the briefing provided an analysis of the importance of Kim's visit to Russia and disclosed the "long-term plans for the development of DPRK-Russia relations."

The Politburo discussed a range of measures aimed at implementing the outcomes of Kim's trip to Russia "in a practical and comprehensive manner," North Korean state media, including the most-circulated Rodong Sinmun newspaper, reported in a Korean-language dispatch.

Kim directed the effort to "strengthen the traditional amicable neighborly and cooperative relations between DPRK and Russia during the practical phase to consolidate the achievements from the visit."

The North Korean leader gave the Politburo the instruction to "actively execute constructive measures to revitalize bilateral ties across all domains and elevate them to a new level."

"He underscored the necessity of enhancing close contacts and cooperation among relevant sectors to broaden and diversify cooperation across various fields, thereby significantly contributing to the well-being and advancement of people of both countries."

North Korean state media did not provide specific details on the measures to be taken.

Nevertheless, the report is significant in highlighting that Kim's visit to the Russian Far East primarily emphasized the intentions of Moscow and Pyongyang to strengthen their military cooperation, despite such actions being strictly prohibited by UN Security Council Resolutions.

The high-stakes Kim-Putin summit at the Vostochny Cosmodrome on Sept. 13 has been analyzed by the international community as a venue for discussions on reciprocal agreements. The US and South Korea have said the agreements involve Russia sharing technologies with North Korea to aid in its weapons development, while North Korea might provide weapons to support Russia's unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

South Korea's Unification Ministry on Friday said that the Politburo meeting had the objective of "examining concrete ways for cooperation between Russia and North Korea," aligning with directives from the North Korean leader to take follow-up steps after his visit to Russia.

Yang Moo-jin, president and professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, noted that it is unusual for North Korea to convene a Politburo meeting exclusively focused on Kim's visit to Russia.

"By officially placing the Russia visit on the agenda and promptly discussing follow-up actions, the country aimed to convey messages both to international audiences and Russia," Yang said.

"Domestically, this underscores Kim's leadership in the realm of summit diplomacy. On the international stage, it signals a commitment to implementing cooperation with Russia, emphasizing the point that empty words are not part of the equation."