North Korea defends Russia’s right to ‘safeguard the country’s dignity’

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Vladimir Putin ready to meet Kim Jong-un to discuss 'urgent issues', says North Korean state media
Vladimir Putin ready to meet Kim Jong-un to discuss 'urgent issues', says North Korean state media

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has reiterated his support for Vladimir Putin, defending Russia’s right to protect its “dignity” from “hostile forces”.

He made the comments in a congratulatory message to his Russian counterpart on the anniversary of the Soviet Union’s defeat of Nazi Germany, known as Victory Day.

North Korean state media said Mr Jong Un in Monday's message praised Russia's victory in the “great war of justice to destroy fascism,” an apparent reference to World War II, and expressed hope that the countries would further develop their “strategic and traditional relations of friendship”.

The report by the Korean Central News Agency didn't include any specific mention of Russia's war on Ukraine.

But it said Mr Jong Un confirmed North Korea's “firm solidarity” with Russia over its campaign to “root out the political and military threat and blackmail by the hostile forces and safeguard the country's dignity.”

Russian military vehicles roll during the Victory Day military parade in Moscow (AP)
Russian military vehicles roll during the Victory Day military parade in Moscow (AP)

North Korea has repeatedly blamed the United States over the crisis in Ukraine, claiming that the “hegemonic policy” of the US-led west is threatening global peace and stability.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which has left the UN Security Council divided and effectively paralysed, has also created a favorable environment for Mr Jong Un to push forward his weapons development as he tries to cement the North's status as a nuclear power and negotiate a removal of crippling US-led sanctions from a position of strength.

North Korea has so far conducted 15 rounds of missile tests in 2022 alone.

When tensions mounted in the weeks leading up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, North Korea was very vocal in criticising the US for “provoking” Russia.

“The US is flatly rejecting Russia’s legitimate demand while stubbornly insisting that it can never abandon Nato’s ‘open-door policy’… and that Ukraine’s membership in Nato is an issue that belongs to the sovereignty of the country,” the foreign ministry’s column said.

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