VLADIVOSTOK, April 25. /TASS/. At a special reception in honor of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, Russian President Vladimir Putin pronounced a toast to stronger friendship and cooperation between the two countries.
"I would like to propose a toast to the further strengthening of friendship and cooperation between Russia and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, to the well-being of our peoples, and to the good health of comrade Kim Jong-un and all those present," Putin said in his opening remarks at the presidential reception. Putin and Kim raised a glass of white wine.
Putin once again welcomed the North Korean guests on Russian soil. He recalled that back in 2002 he met with the father of North Korea’s current leader, Kim Jong-il, in Vladivostok and said that Russia had always felt the deepest respect for him.
"Today’s talks were constructive, business-like and friendly, in line with the tradition of the relations between our countries," he said. Putin recalled that Moscow and Pyongyang last year marked the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations.
"We had approached that date in a complex international situation," he said. "Nevertheless, we can see that in recent months the situation around the Korean Peninsula has been stabilizing largely through comrade Kim Jong-un’s initiatives."
Putin pointed out that Russia was working hard to promote progress along the road of political and diplomatic settlement. Also, he welcomed the North Korean leadership’s steps for establishing a direct dialogue with the United States and normalizing the relations between the two Koreas.