North Korea’s leader vows to ‘hold hands’ with Russia’s Putin for cooperation

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un says he will “hold hands” with President Vladimir Putin of Russia, offering “full support and solidarity” to Moscow.

In a message to Putin on the occasion of Russia’s national day on Monday, Kim called for “closer strategic cooperation” with Moscow, and “holding hands firmly with the Russian president, in conformity with the common desire of the peoples of the two countries to fulfill the grand goal of building a powerful country.”

Kim also pledged his government’s “full support” for Russia’s war with Ukraine, although not directly mentioning the war, according to the North Korean official news agency KCNA.

“Justice is sure to win, and the Russian people will continue to add glory to the history of victory.”

Kim praised Putin’s “correct decision and guidance… to foil the hostile forces’ escalating threats.”

The North Korean people, he said, extend “full support and solidarity to the Russian people in their all-out struggle for implementing the sacred cause to preserve the sovereign rights, development and interests of their country against the imperialists’ high-handed and arbitrary practices.”

Kim has described the war in Ukraine as a US “proxy war” to destroy Russia. He has condemned Western military aid to Kiev and blamed the “hegemonic policy” and “high-handedness” of the United States and the West for the conflict.

In an exchange of letters last August, Putin said Moscow and Pyongyang would “continue to expand the comprehensive and constructive bilateral relations” to strengthen the security and stability of the Korean Peninsula and north-east Asia.

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