14 July, 2024
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Traditions of friendship and cooperation through the years


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On the eve of my state visit to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, I would like to address the Korean and foreign audience of the Rodong Sinmun newspaper to share my thoughts on the prospects for partnership between our states and on their role in the modern world.

The relations of friendship and neighbourliness between Russia and the DPRK, based on the principles of equality, mutual respect and trust, go back more than seven decades and are rich in glorious historical traditions. Our peoples cherish the memory of their difficult joint struggle against Japanese militarism and honour the heroes who fell in it. In August 1945, Soviet soldiers, fighting shoulder to shoulder with Korean patriots, defeated the Kwantung Army, liberated the Korean peninsula from colonisers, and opened the way for the Korean people to develop independently. As symbol of combat brotherhood of the two nations, a monument was erected in 1946 on the Moranbong Hill in the centre of Pyongyang to commemorate the liberation of Korea by the Red Army.

The Soviet Union was the first among the world’s states to recognise the young Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and establish diplomatic relations with it. As early as on March 17, 1949, when the founder of the DPRK Comrade Kim Il Sung paid his first visit to Moscow, the USSR and the DPRK signed the Agreement on Economic and Cultural Cooperation, establishing a legal framework for further strengthening of their bilateral interaction. Our country helped the Korean friends to build their national economy, create a healthcare system, develop science and education, and train professional administrative and technical staff.

In 1950–1953, during the difficult years of the Fatherland Liberation War, the Soviet Union also extended a helping hand to the people of the DPRK and supported them in their struggle for independence. Later on, the Soviet Union provided significant assistance in restoring and strengthening the national economy of the young Korean state and in building a peaceful life.

The official welcome ceremony of the meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been held in Kim Il Sung Square in central Pyongyang – Photo TASS

My first visit to Pyongyang in 2000 and the return visit of Comrade Kim Jong Il, Chairman of the National Defence Commission of the DPRK, to Russia the following year marked new important milestones in the relations between our countries. The bilateral declarations signed back then defined the main priorities and areas of our constructive multidimensional partnership for years to come.

Comrade Kim Jong Un, who leads the DPRK today, confidently continues the policies of his predecessors – prominent statesmen and friends of the Russian people, Comrades Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. I had another chance to see it when we met last September at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia.

Today, as before, Russia and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea are actively advancing their multifaceted partnership. We highly appreciate the DPRK’s unwavering support for Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine, their solidarity with us on key international matters and willingness to defend our common priorities and views within the United Nations. Pyongyang has always been our committed and like-minded supporter, ready to confront the ambition of the collective West to prevent the emergence of a multipolar world order based on justice, mutual respect for sovereignty and consideration of each other’s interests.

The United States is going out of its way to impose on the world what it calls the “rules-based order”, which is essentially nothing more than a global neo-colonial dictatorship relying on double standards. Nations that disagree with such an approach and pursue an independent policy face increasing external pressure. The US leadership views such a natural and legitimate aspiration for self-reliance and independence as a threat to its global dominance.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un – Image Russian Presidential Press and Information Office – Gavriil Grigorov -TASS

The United States and its satellites openly declare that their objective is to inflict a “strategic defeat” on Russia. They are doing everything they can to protract and further exacerbate the conflict in Ukraine, which they have themselves provoked by supporting and organising the 2014 armed coup in Kiev and the subsequent war in Donbass. What is more, over the years they have repeatedly rejected all our attempts to resolve the situation peacefully. Russia has always been and will remain open to equal dialogue on all issues, including the most difficult ones. I reiterated this at my recent meeting with Russian diplomats in Moscow.

Our adversaries, meanwhile, continue to supply the neo‑Nazi Kiev regime with money, weapons and intelligence information, allow – and, effectively, encourage – the use of modern Western weapons and equipment to deliver strikes on the Russian territory, aiming at obviously civilian targets in most cases. They are threatening to send their troops to Ukraine. Furthermore, they are trying to wear out Russia’s economy with more new sanctions and fuel socio-political tension inside the country.

No matter how hard they tried, all their attempts to contain or isolate Russia have failed. We continue to steadily build up our economic capability, develop our industry, technologies, infrastructure, science, education and culture.

We are pleased to note that our Korean friends – despite the years-long economic pressure, provocations, blackmailing and military threats on the part of the United States – are still effectively defending their interests. We see the force, dignity and courage with which the people of the DPRK fight for their freedom, sovereignty and national traditions, achieving tremendous results and genuine breakthroughs in strengthening their country in terms of defence, technology, science and industry. At the same time, the country’s leadership and its head Comrade Kim Jong Un have repeatedly expressed their intention to resolve all the existing differences by peaceful means. But Washington, refusing to implement previous agreements, keeps setting new, increasingly harsh and obviously unacceptable requirements.

Russia has incessantly supported and will support the DPRK and the heroic Korean people in their struggle against the treacherous, dangerous and aggressive enemy, in their fight for independence, identity and the right to freely choose their development path.

We are also ready to closely work together to bring more democracy and stability to international relations. To do this, we will develop alternative trade and mutual settlements mechanisms not controlled by the West, jointly oppose illegitimate unilateral restrictions, and shape the architecture of equal and indivisible security in Eurasia.

It goes without saying, we will develop people-to-people interaction between our countries. We plan to promote academic mobility between Russian and Korean higher education institutions, mutual tourist trips as well as cultural, educational, youth and sports exchanges – everything that makes communication between countries and nations people-centred, everything that enhances confidence and mutual understanding.

I am convinced that our joint efforts will take our bilateral interaction to a higher level, which will facilitate mutually beneficial and equal cooperation between Russia and the DPRK, strengthen our sovereignty, promote trade and economic ties, people-to-people contacts and, ultimately, improve the well-being of the citizens of both states.

I would like to extend wishes of good health to Comrade Kim Jong Un and those of peace and great success on the path of development – to the friendly people of the DPRK.

This article first appeared in the Rodong Sinmun newspaper

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