The Foreign Minister of North Korea, Choe Son Hui, is currently in Russia for discussions with her Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, marking a deepening of economic, political, and military cooperation between the two nations.
Choe’s visit began on Sunday in Moscow, where she was welcomed by officials from the Russian foreign ministry and the North Korean embassy, according to state news agency KCNA’s report on Monday.
As Russia faces increasing international isolation due to its actions in Ukraine, analysts suggest that Moscow views its ties with North Korea as strategically valuable. While historical relations between both countries have experienced fluctuations, the current alignment serves both nations’ interests.
The visit coincides with North Korea’s testing of a new solid-fuel hypersonic missile with intermediate range on Sunday, drawing condemnation from the United States, South Korea, and Japan.
Choe’s itinerary extends until Wednesday, according to Russia’s foreign ministry. Simultaneously, accusations from the United States and its allies regarding Moscow’s involvement in firing North Korean-made ballistic missiles and other weapons against targets in Ukraine have heightened tensions.
Despite denial of arms deals, both countries have expressed a commitment to broadening cooperation and have held several high-level meetings, including a summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un last year.
Artyom Lukin of Russia’s Far Eastern Federal University noted, “Given that the Russia-North Korea relationship is shaping up to be quite multi-faceted, all kinds of issues can be discussed between Lavrov and Choe.” He added that if Choe meets the Russian president, it could signal a potential visit by Putin to Pyongyang later in the year.
Lukin also suggested that the recent North Korean missile test was likely unrelated to Choe’s visit, given the frequent launches by North Korea. The deepening ties between the two nations were highlighted in July when Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu visited Pyongyang and toured a weapons exhibit, including North Korea’s banned ballistic missiles.