Russia and North Korea declare new alliance and 2015 as a 'year of friendship'

Growing alliance to develop diplomatic, cultural and particularly business contacts

North Korea and Russia have declared a “year of friendship” for 2015, according to state media reports from Kim Jong-un’s secretive communist state.

The leader was already due to visit Moscow in May as part of Second World War 70th-anniversary commemorations, in plans confirmed by the Kremlin.

And after selecting Russia for his first official foreign visit since taking over the post from Kim Jong-il, the North Korean leader appears to have now earmarked the nation for a more lasting diplomatic collaboration.

According to the South Korean newspaper The Korea Herald, the North’s official news agency KNCA said in a dispatch that the endeavour will be focussed on developing diplomatic, business and cultural contacts.

It comes as North Korea’s relationship with long-term ally China wanes, and with Russian relations with the West deteriorating seemingly by the day.

Pyongyang’s announcement will primarily by seen as Russians as good economic news, the Telegraph reported.

Moscow cancelled the vast bulk of North Korea’s $11 billion debt last year and Russian investors have agreed to around $25 billion of investment in its new ally’s railway system and infrastructure, the newspaper said.

As with many announcements, Kim’s comes with a precedent in the form of his father Kim Jong-il. His predecessor visited Russia in August 2011 in an armoured train for a rare meeting with then-president Dmitry Medvedev.

Comments