MOSCOW – North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and Russian President Vladimir Putin plan to sign a declaration stating their shared outlook on world affairs at their coming meeting in Moscow, a Russian Foreign Ministry official said Saturday.
The declaration will build on one signed by Putin and Kim during the Russian president's high-profile visit to North Korea last year, Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.
The statement would reflect "Moscow and Pyongyang's views on the international outlook for development of bilateral relations and approaches to key international issues," Losyukov said.
Discussions may include the two countries' shared opposition to U.S. plans for a national missile defense system, he said.
Russian officials have played down U.S. concerns that North Korea poses a potential nuclear threat, worries cited by the United States in support of its plans to build the missile defense system.
Losyukov said he doubted North Korea's missile program would be on the official agenda for the talks, but the topic could be covered in the discussion of strategic stability.
"We believe that this issue is a matter for U.S.-Korean relations," Losyukov said, adding that Moscow would welcome a resumption of dialogue between the United States and North Korea.
Kim was en route to Moscow aboard a train that was expected to arrive in the Siberian city of Irkutsk late Saturday or early Sunday, where it will change crews and exchange the diesel locomotive for an electric locomotive, the Interfax news agency reported.
Kim, who is said to dislike flying, took the train to make only his third foreign visit as leader of his isolated and poor country. It's also his first official trip outside Asia.
His two previous trips to China were surrounded by secrecy, and one was not even announced until he had returned home. The Russia trip is no exception, and little was known about his itinerary.