VLADIVOSTOK, Russia, Sept 13 (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.
“Our visit to Russia is taking place at a very important time. The Russian side welcomed our delegation from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea very warmly. From the first moment we arrived in Russia, we could feel the sincerity of our Russian friends. And on behalf of the entire Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, I express my gratitude to you and the people of the Russian Federation. And I express my gratitude to you for paying so much attention to our visit to Russia.
“We were also able to see with our own eyes the present and future of Russia in the construction of a space power. And we are holding a meeting with you at a very special time, right in the heart of a space power, Russia.
“As you said, the Soviet Union played a very big role in the liberation of our country, as well as in the independence of our state, and our friendship has deep roots. And now, relations with the Russian Federation are the very first priority for our country. I am sure that our meeting will be the next step to take relations to a new level.
“Now Russia has risen to the sacred fight to protect its sovereignty and security against the hegemonic forces that oppose Russia. And now we want to further develop the relationship.
“We will always support the decisions of President Putin and the Russian leadership… I also hope that we will always be together in the fight against imperialism and for the construction of a sovereign state.”
Kim wrote in a visitor book: “The glory to Russia, which gave birth to the first space conquerors, will be immortal.”