Russia is developing ties with N. Korea in all areas, including ‘sensitive’ ones – Kremlin

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia is developing its relations with North Korea in all areas, including “sensitive” ones, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday.

North Korea’s foreign minister lauded comradely ties with Russia on Tuesday and then held rare talks in the Kremlin with President Vladimir Putin, who has been invited by Kim Jong Un to visit the reclusive nuclear-armed country.

Asked about the talks in Moscow, Peskov said the situation on the Korean peninsula was discussed, but that the main focus was on developing bilateral relations.

“The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is our very important partner, and we are focused on the further development of our relations in all areas, including in sensitive areas,” Peskov told reporters.

Putin has deepened ties with North Korea since sending troops into Ukraine in 2022, and the United States and its allies have condemned what they say have been significant North Korean missile deliveries to Russia to help its war effort.

Both Russia and North Korea have repeatedly dismissed the criticism. Moscow says it will develop ties with whatever countries it wants and that its cooperation with Pyongyang does not contravene international agreements.

Russia has gone out of its way to publicise the renaissance of its relationship, including military ties, with North Korea, which was formed in 1948 with the backing of the then-Soviet Union.

For Putin, who says Russia is locked in an existential battle with the West over Ukraine, courting Kim allows him to needle Washington and its Asian allies while securing a deep supply of artillery for the Ukraine war.

(Reporting by Reuters; Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Andrew Osborn)