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North Korea’s Kim vows to ‘hold hands’ with Putin for strategic cooperation

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has vowed to “hold hands” with Russian President Vladimir Putin and bolster strategic cooperation on their shared goal of building a powerful country, state media KCNA reported on Monday.

Kim made the pledge in a message to Putin marking Russia’s National Day, defending his decision to invade Ukraine and displaying “full support and solidarity.”

“Justice is sure to win and the Russian people will continue to add glory to the history of victory,” Kim said in the message published by KCNA.

Kim called for “closer strategic cooperation” with Moscow, “holding hands firmly with the Russian president, in conformity with the common desire of the peoples of the two countries to fulfil the grand goal of building a powerful country,” it added.

North Korea has sought to forge closer ties with the Kremlin and backed Moscow after it invaded Ukraine last year, blaming the “hegemonic policy” and “high-handedness” of the United States and the West.

(Reporting by Hyonhee Shin; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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