South Korea says ‘closely watching Putin’s preparations’ to visit North Korea

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South Korea said Thursday it was “closely watching” preparations by Russian President Vladimir Putin for an expected visit to its arch-foe North Korea.

“The government is closely watching President Putin’s preparations for his visit to North Korea,” South Korea’s foreign ministry said.

Earlier Thursday, a senior official at the South Korean president’s office said Putin was expected to visit North Korea “in a few days”.

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North Korea and Russia are both under heavy sanctions, and have deepened ties since the latter invaded Ukraine in 2022. Pyongyang has been accused of providing arms to Russia for its war in Ukraine.

Neither side has confirmed the itinerary of Putin’s visit. The Kremlin has told Russian state-run media last month that a visit was “being prepared.”

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