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Russia Preparing for Kim Jong Un Visit

  • Kim Yonho

FILE - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (C) salutes during a Sept. 9, 2013, military parade in Pyongyang.

FILE - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (C) salutes during a Sept. 9, 2013, military parade in Pyongyang.

Russia is making preparations for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s visit to Moscow next month, the Kremlin said Wednesday.

In January, Moscow said Kim had accepted an invitation to Russia’s Victory Day ceremony and he was expected to attend the event on May 9 in Moscow. The event marks the 70th anniversary of Russia’s victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. According to media reports, at least 26 world leaders are also expected to attend the ceremony.

“At this moment, we are working through all the logistical questions with all the foreign delegations coming to the May 9 celebrations, including the North Korean delegation,” said the Kremlin’s press office in an email sent to VOA’s Korean Service.

The potential visit would be Kim's first chance to appear on the international stage. Kim is not known to have visited a foreign country or met a head of state since he took power in late 2011. Pyongyang has not commented on a potential visit for Kim, and some analysts remain skeptical the young leader would choose Moscow over Beijing, a longtime ally of Pyongyang, for his first trip. But the Kremlin seems confident of Kim’s attendance.

“Let me assure you once again that the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is expected to participate in the May 9 celebrations,” said the Kremlin’s press office.

Earlier, South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said President Park Geun-hye will not attend the ceremony, ruling out the possibility of the first meeting between leaders of two Koreas since 2007. Park will send her aide to the event.

President Obama will also skip the event. Last week, the State Department said President Obama will send his envoy to Moscow to the ceremony. Some European countries are boycotting the event over Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and its role in the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

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