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TOKYO, September 13 (Itar-Tass) —— The Russian and North Korean armed forces may hold their first joint defence exercises already this year, the Japanese newspaper Asahi said on Tuesday.
The planned manoeuvres of the North Korean armed forces with the participation of another country's army are of an unprecedented character and apparently are aimed at having a deterrent effect on Japan and South Korea under the conditions of growing tension on the Korean Peninsula, the daily noted.
The agreement between Pyongyang and Moscow to conduct joint training operations to rescue pilots in case of a plane accident was reached during the August top-level meeting, the Asahi noted.
According to the newspaper, the Navies and the Air Forces of the two countries are likely to conduct the exercise near the Far Eastern coast already this year.
The North Korean side during the recent top-level talks suggested holding joint combat exercises envisaging attack repulsing. But the proposal was not supported by Russia, since U.N Security Council sanctions against North Korea remain in force. The Russian side also negatively responded to the requests to supply aircraft and weapons to North Korea, which were voiced by North Korean military command representatives who recently visited Russia.
The North Korean central news agency reported that Chief of the General Staff of the Korean People's Army Vice-Marshal Ri Yong Ho received the Russian Eastern Military District's Troops Commander Admiral Konstantin Sidenko in Pyongyang on August 25. The Russian military delegation discussed defence cooperation.
The main goal of the visit was to consolidate friendly ties between the armed forces of the two countries, Admiral Sidenko said.
According to the Russian Defence Ministry press service, in the visit schedule were meetings with North Korean Army command representatives for consultations to resume and further develop military, including naval, cooperation, possible timing and order to hold humanitarian-aim exercises and exchanges of friendly visits by Russian and North Korean warships. The delegation was also planned to discuss prospects for cooperation between ground troops of the two countries, possibilities to hold joint exercises and training to search for and rescue ships in distress and help people in emergencies caused by natural disasters.