MOSCOW, August 20 (Itar-Tass) — North Korean leader Kim Jong-il started the visit to Russia on August 20, 2011.
During the visit, Kim Jong-il is planning to visit regions of the Far Eastern and Siberian Federal Districts. He is expected to meet with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
The USSR and North Korea established diplomatic relations on October 12, 1948. The DPRK recognised the countries, which were part of the CIS, including Russia, on December 27, 1991.
Relations between the two countries are based on the Treaty of Friendship, Good-Neighbourliness and Cooperation. The treaty was signed in February 2000. Among other documents, which were signed by the two states, are the agreements on mutual trips of citizens, on the avoidance of double taxation, on air service, on economic and technical cooperation, on the encouragement and mutual protection of investments, on military cooperation between the defence ministries of both countries, the document on customs cooperation, as well as on cooperation between the Russian Interior Ministry and the DPRK Ministry of Public Security.
The summits play a big role in strengthening interaction between Russia and the DPRK. Vladimir Putin made his first visit to the DPRK on July 19-20, 2000. Russia and North Korea adopted a joint declaration on stepping up political and economic cooperation.
Kim Jong-il visited Russia twice. Earlier, he accompanied his father, Kim Il-sung, to the USSR in 1957 and 1959.
The first official visit to Russia was paid in the summer 2001 and it was unprecedentedly long – from July 26 to August 18. Kim Jong-il travelled to the whole territory of Russia and practically repeated the father’s itinerary. While in Moscow, he held talks with Vladimir Putin. Both parties signed the Moscow Declaration, which confirmed the sides’ commitment to ensuring global stability and strengthening bilateral relations.
The second visit to Russia was made on August 20-24, 2002. Kim Jong-il paid a study trip to the Far East. He studied the region’s economic policy. He met with Vladimir Putin in Vladivostok on August 23.
Economic relations between Russia and the DPRK began developing dynamically in 2000 after Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Pyongyang and after Kim Jong-il made a return visit to Russia. In 2005 trade turnover reached 234.8 million U.S. dollars.
The Russian-North Korean inter-governmental commission for trade, economic, scientific and technical cooperation was one of the mechanisms for interstate cooperation. The commission will gather for the 5th session in Pyongyang on August 26, 2011. The previous session was held in March 2007.
Russia calls for restoring a dialogue and improving cooperation between the North and the South. In this context Russia’s proposal to launch tripartite projects for linking railways of Russia, the DPRK and the RK, building a gas pipeline to the RK from Russia via the DPRK and erecting power lines have big prospects.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, “Kim Jong-il has been invited long ago to visit Russia. But the date of the visit should be coordinated.”
Lavrov said Moscow and Pyongyang regularly discussed the situation on the Korean Peninsula, including “necessary measures to overcome a deadlock in the six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear problem”.
“Our relations with Pyongyang are not restricted only by this issue. Our relationship is based on traditional friendship and good-neighbourliness, and diversified cooperation, including in the humanitarian and economic fields,” the minister said.
“We want the DPRK to develop dynamically and to solve its internal problems that would facilitate the normalisation of the situation in Northeast Asia,” Lavrov stressed.
“Investments are also growing. In particular, the Republic of Korea has invested about three billion U.S. dollars into the Russian economy, and this process continues,” the Russian minister said.
At the same time, he said the meeting also focused on further diversification of bilateral relations, primarily mutual projects in the field of high technology. “These are nuclear energy, space exploration, car manufacturing, shipbuilding and electronics,” Lavrov pointed out.
Commenting on the 10th anniversary of the North Korean leader’s visit to Russia, deputy chairman of the Presidium of the North Korean Supreme People’s Assembly, Yang Hyong-sop, said he considered this visit “an epoch-making event”.
Yang Hyong-sop said, “Relationship between the two countries stepped up considerably after this visit. Both states also stepped up political, economic and cultural contacts.”
“We are pleased with economic progress in Russia and strengthening defence capacity,” Yang Hyong-sop said. He wished prosperity and well-being to the Russian people.
Russian Ambassador to North Korean Valery Sukhinin, who took part in the reception, noted that the two countries maintained close political contacts and economic cooperation.
In addition, the leading North Korean newspapers published articles devoted to the 10th anniversary of Kim Jong-il’s visit to Russia and the signing of the Moscow Declaration.
According to the Rodong Sinmun, “this trip, which was made in 2001, was a landmark event. The visit opened a new page in relations between the two states.” “The Moscow Declaration, which met the interests of the peoples of Russia and North Korea, made a big contribution to strengthening peace and security in Asia and other countries.”
Now, ten years later, both countries “are taking practical steps towards stepping up bilateral cooperation”, the newspaper writes.
The Minju Choson says the Moscow Declaration confirmed “both countries’ commitment to developing political, economic, scientific and technical cooperation on the basis of equality, mutual respect and the non-interference into internal affairs of each other”.
The Moscow Declaration was signed in the Kremlin on August 4, 2001 by Vladimir Putin, who was president in 2001, and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. Both parties took obligations “to contribute to forming a new fair world order based on the supremacy of law, the principles of equality, mutual respect, mutually advantageous cooperation for the benefit of global stability, as well as to ensuring reliable security of each member of the international community in the political, economic, social, cultural, information and other spheres”.