North Korean leader Kim Jong-il met Russian President Vladimir Putin upon his arrival at Sunan international airport in Pyongyang. Residents of the North Korean capital greeted Mr Putin’s motorcade all along its route.
Mr Putin paid tribute to the memory of President Kim Il-sung, founder of the Korean socialist state, by visiting the Kumsusan Memorial Palace, his mausoleum, before negotiations.
The Russian and North Korean leaders met at the Paekhwawon state guest house to discuss bilateral relations and exchange opinions on international issues of shared interest. Mr Putin summed up his visit to China for Mr Kim, and passed on to the North Korean leader heartfelt greetings from Chinese President Jiang Zemin.
Mr Kim gratefully accepted the Russian President’s invitation to visit Moscow any time it was convenient for him.
The heads of state summed up their negotiations with a joint declaration, which expressed identical stances on many problems, including anti-missile defence. According to the declaration, Russia and North Korea are ready to establish urgent bilateral contact in the event either is threatened by an act of aggression, or a situation arises threatening peace and security, or whenever consultations and interaction are necessary. The parties spoke in favour of preserving and strengthening the ABM Treaty of 1972.
The Russian President told journalists after the negotiations that Mr Kim had reassured him that North Korea was only willing to use other countries’ missile technologies if it were offered booster rockets for peaceful space research. Mr Putin stressed that countries speaking of the threat posed by North Korea were duty bound to support the project.