N. Korea’s ruling party delegation visiting Russia for int’l forum

SEOUL, A delegation of North Korea's ruling party officials have left for Russia to attend an international forum, state media reported Tuesday, amid deepening bilateral cooperation in the military and other sectors. Kim Su-gil, alternate member of the political bureau of the Workers' Party, and other delegates departed Pyongyang on Monday for a trip to Russia at the invitation of Russia's ruling United Russia party, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). The delegation plans to attend the first meeting of the forum, "For the Freedom of Nations," the KCNA said, without disclosing other details of the itinerary. The forum will be held on Feb. 15-17 in a bid to develop multilateral cooperation for "the fight against modern practices of neo-colonialism," according to the website of United Russia. North Korea and Russia have expanded the scope of cooperation following the summit between the North's leader Kim Jong-un and Russian President Vladimir Putin in September last year. Pyongyang is susp ected of having provided artillery and munitions to Russia for use in Moscow's war in Ukraine in exchange for Russia's potential transfer of weapons technology. North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui made an official trip to Russia in January after her Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, visited Pyongyang last year. Russian tourists also recently visited North Korea as part of the first group trip to the secretive regime since last year when North Korea partially opened its border amid eased concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. Seoul's unification ministry said exchanges between North Korea and Russia have become "vibrant" following last year's summit. "We do not evaluate ordinary exchanges between North Korea and Russia. But they should stop illegal activities that violate U.N. Security Council resolutions, such as arms trades or the dispatch of (North Korean) workers," a ministry official told reporters. Source: Yonhap News Agency