North Korea and Russia have agreed to boost their bilateral ties in 2015 under the banner of the “year of friendship.”
The official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said that Russia and North Korea would “develop the bilateral relations on to a new higher stage in various fields, including politics, economy and culture under a mutual agreement,” The Guardian reported on Thursday.
The Russian Foreign Ministry also confirmed that the agreement between Moscow and Pyongyang was aimed at promoting ties “in the political, economic, humanitarian and other areas to a new level.”
Russia has also confirmed that North Korea’s communist dictator, Kim Jong-un, is to attend World War II ceremonies in Moscow on May 9 in his first foreign visit since rising to power in 2011.
The event in the Russian capital is to mark the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s World War II victory over Nazi Germany.
Close ties between the two countries can dismay Western countries, especially the United States, and Britain, which are at loggerheads with Russia over the crisis in Eastern Ukraine, and with North Korea over its nuclear program.
Russia has sided with North Korea on several occasions in the international arena.
In 2013, Moscow strongly rejected the increasing military activities by the United States on the Korean Peninsula, warning that escalating tensions could destabilize the entire region.
It has also opposed a UN call for Pyongyang to be referred to the International Criminal Court over its human rights record.
Russia also partook in negotiations over North Korea’s nuclear program, which were held until 2008.
North Korea’s former leader, Kim Jong-il, visited Russia in August 2011 in his personal train for a rare meeting with then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
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