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Russia Hopes to Foster Closer Ties with North Korea

The two nations are likely to sign an agreement on the prevention of dangerous military activities later this year.

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Moscow is committed to developing “mutually beneficial cooperation” with North Korea, State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin said at a meeting with the Chairman of the DPRK Supreme People's Assembly Choi Tae Bok, TASS reported.

"We consider it appropriate to work on improving and updating of the legal framework of our relations,” Naryshkin said. “We believe it's possible to sign two important documents before the end of the year: an agreement on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters and an agreement on preventing dangerous military activities.”

In addition, Naryshkin Russia is expecting to update its agreement with North Korea on mutual exchanges in the near future.

"This is also an important document that would facilitate the further growth of bilateral exchanges between our two countries", Naryshkin said.

The draft agreement between Russia and the DPRK on preventing dangerous military activity was approved by the Russian government at the end of last year, TASS noted. Under the agreement, which has been published on the Russian governmemt's website, both parties intend to "exercise extreme caution and prudence when carrying out activities in or close to the location of the armed forces of the other side."

In addition, each of the parties shall take the necessary measures to "prevent the unauthorized entry of military equipment and personnel into the territory of other states.” The agreement also states that both parties will avoid interfering in the national security affairs of other states. It adds that: “Both parties shall take all possible measures to settle by peaceful means, without resorting to the threat or use of force, any incidents that might arise a result of dangerous military activities”.

Speaking about Choe Thae-bok's visit to Moscow, Naryshkin said it was “serious evidence” that North Korea has a “firm intention” to develop the relationship between the two countries.

"I want to assure you that the Russian leadership also adheres to the line towards good-neighborly relations, development of friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries," Naryshkin said.

During Soviet times, the Russian leadership had strong relations with North Korea, but these diminished somewhat with the fall of communism. However, relations have been improving steadily since the 2000s, with both countries stepping up their cooperation in recent months, Sputnik News reported. Most recently, there has been talk of introducing a relaxed visa regime between the two countries, while officials are hoping to increase bilateral trade to $1 billion a year.

Image credit: 589724 via pixabay.com

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