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North Korea’s Kim heads to Russia to revive old friendship
Pyongyang: On the neighbouring mound to Mansu hill, where giant statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il look out over North Korea’s capital, stands the Liberation Tower.
The star-topped stone obelisk has a bronze Soviet Union flag at its base and and a panel showing Soviet and Korean troops going into battle together against the Japanese.
The ties between Pyongyang and Moscow, once its most important ally, go back decades.
And after years of abeyance, current leader Kim Jong Un — the son and grandson of the chiefs immortalised on Mansu hill — is looking to revive links with nuclear negotiations with Washington deadlocked and as he seeks a counterbalance to China.
Kim is expected to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vladivostok this week, reportedly on Wednesday and Thursday.
Few details have been released, but the summit — the first between the two neighbours’ leaders since Kim Jong Il met Dmitry Medvedev eight years ago — comes less than two months after the Hanoi meeting between Kim and US President Donald Trump broke up without reaching agreement on the North’s nuclear arsenal.
Pyongyang last week launched a blistering attack on US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, demanding he be removed from the negotiations.
Kim has met Chinese President Xi Jinping four times in the space of a year but is now looking for wider international support in the standoff, say analysts.
Moscow has already called for international sanctions on the North to be eased, while the US has accused it of trying to help Pyongyang evade some of the measures — accusations Russia denies.
After the Hanoi summit, Russia’s ambassador to the North Alexander Matsegora told AFP Pyongyang had been disappointed by the outcome. (AFP)