Russian foreign minister thanks North Korea for ‘unwavering’ support in Ukraine war

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(LONDON) — Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has hailed deepening relations between Russia and North Korea during his two-day diplomatic trip to Pyongyang in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two nations.

Lavrov arrived in Pyongyang on Wednesday, flying from Beijing where he had been participating in the Belt and Road Initiative forum alongside President Vladimir Putin and other heads of state from Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.

Footage from Russian state television showed crowds greeting Lavrov in the rain upon his arrival in Pyongyang, alongside a welcoming party waving pompoms.

Speaking at a formal reception hosted by the government of North Korea, Lavrov thanked North Korea for its “unwavering and principled support for Russia’s actions in the context of the special military operation in Ukraine.”

“We are fully aware that many countries worldwide share similar viewpoints and assessments, but only a select few, such as the DPRK, explicitly declare their solidarity with Russia and can express it openly,” said Lavrov. “This ability is a hallmark of nations and governments that are truly independent, prioritise their national interests, and not fall for the tricks played by our Western counterparts.”

Lavrov announced the Russian federation likewise extends its “complete support and solidarity” to North Korea’s aspirations, hailing their “mutual solidarity and shared commitment.”

“Here’s to our friendship!” said Lavrov.

On Thursday, Lavrov was received by North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, with Russian News Agency TASS reporting the meeting lasted over an hour. No further details were published.

Lavrov also met with North Korea’s Foreign Minister Choe Con Hui: “We can say confidently that these relations have reached a qualitatively new, strategic level,” Lavrov said at the start of the meeting.

As the flurry of diplomacy between Moscow and Pyongyang continues, Choe said she hopes the “frequent meetings between the foreign ministers of the two countries help strengthen comradely ties and serve as proof that [North] Korean-Russian bilateral relations with their long history of friendship demonstrate development dynamics, expanding with new vigor.”

The talks with Lavrov in North Korea “will become an important moment advancing the implementation of the agreements reached at the September summit” between Putin and Kim, she said.

Lavrov’s trip comes following the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Russia and North Korea, and a month after the “historic summit” between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-Un at the Vostochny Cosmodrome.

It comes days after the United States said North Korea had transferred munitions to Russia to boost its war-fighting capabilities. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby announced on Friday that North Korea has delivered over “1,000 containers” of munitions and military equipment to Russia.

The containers are reported to have been shipped between Sept. 7 and Oct. 1 between Najin, North Korea, and Dunay, Russia, the White House said.

Ending his two-day trip, Lavrov laid flowers at the memorial plaque to Andrey Karlov — Russia’s ambassador to Turkey who previously served as Russia’s ambassador to North Korea who was assassinated in Ankara in 2016 — at the Russian Embassy in Pyongyang.

Lavrov held a meeting with the staff of the Russian embassy in North Korea, the final event of his stay.

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