Kim Jong-un snubs Vladimir Putin and cancels planned visit for Russia WWII anniversary

Cites internal issues in the secretive state

Adam Withnall
Friday 01 May 2015 07:43
Kim Jong-un posing on top of Mount Paektu in North Korea
Kim Jong-un posing on top of Mount Paektu in North Korea

Kim Jong-un has cancelled a rare planned state visit outside North Korea, shunning an event hosted by Vladimir Putin with just 10 days’ notice.

The dictator had been due to travel to Moscow for celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, but will now miss the Victory Day parade on 9 May.

According to NBC News, Putin’s spokesperson confirmed to reporters that Kim would be missing the event. “He has decided to stay in Pyongyang,” said Dmitry Peskov, adding that “this decision is related to [North] Korea’s internal affairs.”

Last month state media in North Korea claimed that it and Russia had declared a “year of friendship” for 2015, focussed on improving business and cultural ties.

The Moscow parade would have been Kim’s first foreign visit in his official capacity as North Korea’s leader, and it had been suggested that it represented an odd choice given the large number of foreign dignitaries involved.

With a state as closed-off as North Korea, it is difficult to speculate on what the “internal affairs” referenced by Mr Peskov might be.

But according to South Korea’s spy agency, Kim recently oversaw the execution of 15 senior officials as part of a purge carried out on the basis of a number of alleged crimes.

Experts at the Seoul-based University of North Korean Studies suggested that Kim’s actions, while following to some extent in the footsteps of his father and predecessor Kim Jong-il, were nonetheless those of a young dictator struggling to exercise effective control over his regime.

Meanwhile, apparently unfazed by the loss of Kim from the Victory Day parade, Putin has reportedly written a column in Thursday’s Russian Pioneer detailing his parents’ experiences during the Second World War.

Putin recalled his father’s injuries, how his mother suffered and his brother’s death – but added that his parents didn’t “hate” the Nazis.

The Russian President said his mother told him: “What kind of hate can I have toward the soldiers? They are just regular people and also died in the war.”

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