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North Korea, Russia top diplomats meet amid strengthening ties between two countries

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet with North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui in Russia for two days of talks starting Tuesday, after the two leaders met in Pyongyang in October. File photo by KCNA/EPA-EFE
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet with North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui in Russia for two days of talks starting Tuesday, after the two leaders met in Pyongyang in October. File photo by KCNA/EPA-EFE

Jan. 15 (UPI) -- North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui on Monday arrived in Russia ahead of two days of talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

The arrival of North Korea's envoy came as the Kremlin called the neighboring communist country Russia's "partner" which hints at a strengthening of ties between Moscow and Pyongyang.

The United States recently claimed, as diplomatic tensions rise, that Russia has used North Korean ballistic missiles in its war with Ukraine despite the condemnation of dozens of other countries and after the United States imposed sanctions over the Russia-North Korea arms deal.

It was noted Choe's visit to Russia is the reciprocal trip of Lavrov's October visit to Pyongyang three months prior.

A Kremlin spokesman had said there is the chance of a meeting between Choe and Russian President Vladimir Putin, amid discussion of a Putin visit to North Korea which could happen in the "foreseeable future."

North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un (L) with Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) at their last meeting together on Sept 13, 2023 at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Amur region, Russia. The ongoing talks between Russia's and North Korea's top diplomats come amid a strengthening of ties between the two countries and the escalation in worldwide diplomatic tensions. Photo by Kremlin POOL/UPI

The last time Putin and North Korea's leader met was Kim Jon-un's Sept. 2023 visit to Russia when Kim said "I will always be standing with Russia."