SEOUL, January 13. /TASS/. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has accepted an invitation to visit Moscow to attend a May ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported on Tuesday.
“North Korea is seeking to deepen both diplomatic and economic ties with Russia at a time when its political relationship with China remains chilly,” the agency said.
The North's positive stance over Russia's invitation of Kim, who has not made a visit to a foreign country since taking the helm of the country in late 2011, appears aimed at prompting China to try to move toward warmer relations with Pyongyang recently, Yonhap quoted an anonymous South Korean diplomatic source as saying.
On December 19, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed to TASS that an invitation had been sent to Kim to take part in the celebrations marking the end of World War Two.
Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov told journalists on December 22: “There are first signals from Pyongyang that the North Korean leader intends to arrive in Moscow and attend the events.”
Besides Kim, Moscow had invited “representatives of anti-Hitler coalition countries and many others”, Ushakov said. “Invitations to the celebrations to mark the 70th anniversary of victory have been sent to many states,” he told reporters.
Russia on May 9 will be celebrating the 70th anniversary of victory in the 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War, as the four-year battle between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany is known. By tradition the leaders of many countries are invited to attend the festivities. The ceremonies timed for the 60th anniversary of victory were attended by the leaders of the United States, Japan, France, Germany and China.