Pyongyang says it will send a senior diplomat to Russia to attend a World War II commemoration event after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un called off his scheduled visit to Moscow.
“Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea), will pay a visit to Russia to take part in the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War to be held in Moscow,” the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Monday.
On Thursday, Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said that Kim Jong-un would not attend the Victory Day parade on May 9, due to “Korean domestic affairs.”
He also rejected reports that the visit was cancelled after some countries warned Moscow of the consequences of Kim’s presence in the European country, saying, “This is certainly not the case.”
In March, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that Kim and 25 other world leaders would travel to Moscow on May 9 to take part in a ceremony honoring the 70th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.
The visit would have been Kim’s first foreign trip since assuming power in December 2011.