VLADIVOSTOK, Russia (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at Russia’s most modern space launch facility on Wednesday.
They exchanged opening greetings in front of the media, with Kim speaking via a Russian interpreter. Here is a Reuters translation of their remarks.
“Dear Mr. Chairman! I am very glad to see and welcome you again in Russia – this time, as we agreed, at our Vostochny cosmodrome.
“We are proud of how this sector is developing here, and this is our new facility. I hope both you and your colleagues find this interesting.
“Our meeting is taking place at a very special time, after all. Most recently, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea celebrated 75 years of its creation and foundation. 75 years of establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries. Let me remind you that it was our country that was the first to recognize the sovereign independent state – the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
“Then very soon we will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the end of the War of independence and the victory of the Korean people in this war. This is a landmark date, because our country also helped our friends in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to fight for this independence.
“We, of course, need to talk about questions of economic cooperation and questions of a humanitarian nature. We have a lot of questions. I want to say that I am very glad to see you. Thank you for accepting the invitation and coming to Russia.”
When reporters earlier asked Putin whether Russia would help Kim build satellites, he replied: “That’s why we came here. The leader of the DPRK shows great interest in rocket engineering; they are also trying to develop space.”
“I express my gratitude to you for paying such attention to our visit to Russia.
“The Soviet Union played a very big role in the liberation of our country.
“Our friendship has deep roots, and now relations with the Russian Federation are the first priority for our country
“I am sure that our meeting will be the next step to take relations to a new level.
“Russia has risen to a sacred fight to protect its sovereignty and security… against the hegemonic forces,” Kim told Putin via a translator.
“We will always support the decisions of President Putin and the Russian leadership… and we will be together in the fight against imperialism.”
Kim wrote in a visitor book: “The glory to Russia, which gave birth to the first space conquerors, will be immortal.”
(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)
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