North Korea's foreign minister will visit Russia this coming week, state media reported Sunday, with Washington leading a chorus of global condemnation over Pyongyang's alleged transfers of weapons to Moscow for use in Ukraine.
Traditional allies, Russia and North Korea have recently boosted ties anew, with Pyongyang's leader Kim Jong Un making a rare overseas trip to see President Vladimir Putin in Russia's far east in September.
Top Russian officials, including Moscow's defence and foreign ministers, also visited North Korea last year, with the flurry of trips both ways fanning concern among Kyiv's allies over the possibility of a potential arms deal.
"Choe Son Hui, minister of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, will pay an official visit to the Russian Federation from January 15 to 17 at the invitation of its Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov," the Korean Central News Agency said, using the North's official name.
Earlier this month, the White House accused the North of sending both ballistic missiles and launchers to Russia in what it called a "significant and concerning escalation" of its support for Moscow's war effort.
Pyongyang-supplied missiles with ranges of around 900 kilometres (550 miles) were used by Russia in attacks on Ukraine, officials said.
Increasing military and economic cooperation between Russia and North Korea has triggered concerns in Washington and Seoul.
South Korea has accused Pyongyang of having provided more than one million artillery rounds to Moscow in exchange for advice on military satellite technology.
After two failed attempts, North Korea succeeded in putting a spy satellite into orbit late last year, after Seoul said it received Russian help.
The United States said in October last year that North Korea had delivered more than 1,000 containers of military equipment and munitions to Russia.
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