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N.Korean Leader to Visit Russia

August 15, 2002

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MOSCOW (AP) _ North Korean leader Kim Jong Il will travel to Russia’s Far East later this month, the Kremlin announced Thursday.

President Vladimir Putin’s press service said that Kim would arrive in the last 10 days of August, and that his visit was at the invitation of the Russian side. It gave no other details.

Putin is scheduled to visit Vladivostok, a Far East port, in the next few weeks. Russian media have reported that he is expected to meet Kim there.

Last summer, Kim crossed Russia by train and met with Putin in Moscow. The two leaders pledged to build closer strategic and economic ties and criticized American plans for a missile defense system _ an issue that has since faded with the U.S. withdrawal from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and Putin’s muted response.

Russia is friendly with both Koreas and has expressed readiness to facilitate reconciliation on the peninsula.

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