Flags of North Korea (L) and Russia fly during a visit of Russian President Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to the Vostochny cosmodrome, outside the town of Tsiolkovsky (former Uglegorsk), some 180km north of Blagoveschensk in Amur region, Russia, 13 September 2023. EFE-EPA/ARTEM GEODAKYAN/SPUTNIK/KREMLIN / POOL MANDATORY CREDIT/FILE

Russian delegation headed by natural resources minister visits North Korea

Seoul, Nov 15 (EFE).- A Russian government delegation headed by Natural Resources and Ecology Minister Alexander Kozlov is in Pyongyang to participate in a cooperation forum on trade, science and technology, North Korean state agency KCNA reported Wednesday.

The Russian delegation, which also includes Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin, arrived Tuesday and was received at the Sunan International Airport in Pyongyang by the North Korean Minister of External Economic Relations, Yun Jong-ho, and Vice Foreign Minister Im Chon-il.

The delegation then attended a concert at the Mansudae Theater in the North Korean capital in which “songs from the two countries about justice, patriotism, courage and optimism” were sung, and was followed by a banquet at the Koryo Hotel in Pyongyang.

During the meeting, Minister Yun said he thanked Russia for its “efforts to implement the agreements reached at the historic summit” held in September between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Russian President Vladimir Putin. It is believed both countries cemented an agreement to cooperate and trade in the military field.

Seoul and Washington say it’s proven that North Korea has delivered millions of artillery rounds to Russia for use in Ukraine and that Pyongyang may be receiving technological support on space launches in return as it hopes to soon launch a rocket to put its first satellite into orbit.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (L) during their meeting on the Vostochny cosmodrome outside of the town of Tsiolkovsky (former Uglegorsk), some 180 km north of Blagoveschensk in Amur region, Russia, 13 September 2023. EFE-EPA/VLADIMIR SMIRNOV/SPUTNIK/KREMLIN POOL MANDATORY CREDIT/FILE

For his part, Kozlov, one of the officials who most actively participated in Kim’s visit to Russia in September, said that North Korea “is fighting shoulder to shoulder on the front line against the dominionist forces” and that he is providing “full support to Russia on regional and international issues.”

Experts have said the growing rapprochement between Pyongyang and Moscow may involve new shipments of North Korean workers to mining or logging operations in the Russian Far East, something prohibited by sanctions from the UN Security Council, of which Moscow is a permanent member.

According to the UN Sanctions Committee, the salary in foreign currency of these workers, who live in conditions of semi-slavery, is received mostly by the regime.

Since denuclearization negotiations with the United States failed in 2019, North Korea decided to approve a weapons modernization plan and, in addition to rejecting the restart of dialog, has sought greater rapprochement with Beijing and Moscow. EFE