North Korea’s powerful politburo discusses follow-up steps to Kim’s Russia visit

By Hyonhee Shin

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un discussed follow-up measures to his recent visit to Russia during the first formal meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party’s powerful politburo since his return, state media KCNA said on Friday.

Kim returned home from a weeklong trip to Russia last week in which he and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to boost military and economic cooperation.

On Wednesday, Kim briefed the party central committee’s powerful politburo on his visit, and participants explored ways to “practically and comprehensively” implement its results and “constructive,” long-term measures for developing relations with Russia, KCNA said.

“He stressed the need to strengthen close contacts and cooperation among relevant fields of the two countries to expand and develop cooperation in every field in an all-round way,” it said.

KCNA also said Kim’s trip placed the bilateral ties “on a new strategic level in response to the demand of the new era and brought a radical change in the world geo-political situation”.

Seoul and Washington have expressed concern that Russia could be trying to acquire ammunition from North Korea to supplement its thinning stockpiles amid its war in Ukraine, while Pyongyang seeks technological help for its nuclear and missile programs.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, in a speech to the annual U.N. General Assembly, said on Wednesday that if Russia helped North Korea advance its weapons programs in return for assistance with its war in Ukraine, it would be “a direct provocation” and Seoul and its allies would not stand idly by.

(Reporting by Hyonhee Shin. Editing by Gerry Doyle)