North Korean Delegation Heads to Russia for International Forum

SEOUL - A delegation from North Korea's ruling Workers' Party, led by alternate member of the political bureau Kim Su-gil, embarked on a visit to Russia to participate in an international forum, according to reports from state media on Tuesday. The forum, titled "For the Freedom of Nations," aims to foster multilateral cooperation against what it describes as modern practices of neo-colonialism. This event underscores the growing ties between North Korea and Russia, particularly in military cooperation and other sectors.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the delegation left Pyongyang on Monday, accepting an invitation from Russia's ruling United Russia party. The specifics of their itinerary remain undisclosed, but the forum is scheduled to take place from February 15-17. The meeting is set against the backdrop of increased bilateral engagement following a summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Russian President Vladimir Putin in September of the previous year.

The relationship between Pyongyang and Moscow has drawn international attention, with North Korea allegedly supplying artillery and munitions to support Russia's military efforts in Ukraine. In return, there are speculations about Russia's potential transfer of weapons technology to North Korea. These developments have led to heightened diplomatic activity, including North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui's official visit to Russia in January and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's trip to Pyongyang last year.

Furthermore, Russian tourists recently made a group visit to North Korea, marking the first such trip since the country partially reopened its borders amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This visit highlights the warming relations between the two nations and comes as both countries seek to bolster their cooperation across various domains.

Seoul's unification ministry has commented on the vibrant exchanges between North Korea and Russia, particularly after last year's summit. However, a ministry official emphasized the need for both nations to adhere to international norms, specifically calling for an end to activities that violate U.N. Security Council resolutions, such as illegal arms trades or the dispatch of North Korean workers.

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