North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called for strengthening ties with Russia at a meeting of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, state-run media reported Friday. Kim returned from a six-day visit to Russia earlier this week. Photo by KCNA/UPI
SEOUL, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered steps to be taken to raise his country's relationship to a "new high level" with Russia, state media reported Friday, days after returning from a visit that has sparked international concern about a potential arms deal.
Kim made the remark at a meeting of the Politburo of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea on Wednesday, state-run Korean Central News Agency reported.
The session was held to review Kim's Sept. 12-17 trip to Russia, during which he held a summit with President Vladimir Putin and visited several military sites to view advanced fighter jets, bombers and missiles.
Kim ordered unspecified measures for "further activating the bilateral relations in all fields and developing them onto a new high level ... for consolidating the successes made in the [Russia] visit."
The two sides should "expand and develop cooperation in every field in an all-round way," he added.
The Politburo meeting also included a report by Kim Song Nam, department director of the ruling party's central committee, which analyzed Kim's visit and "introduced the long-term plans for developing the DPRK-Russia relations."
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is the official name of North Korea.
The trip "put the DPRK-Russia relations on a new strategic level in response to the demand of the new era and brought a radical change in the world geo-political situation," the report said, according to KCNA.
The White House last week expressed concern over a "budding arms deal" between Pyongyang and Moscow, citing intelligence that Kim was planning to supply Russia with artillery for its war against Ukraine.
Kim, meanwhile, is reportedly seeking advanced technology for the North's weapons programs, including its efforts to launch a military spy satellite into orbit.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol warned during an address to the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday that Seoul and its allies will not "stand idly by" if Russia gives North Korea technical assistance with its nuclear and missile programs.
"If the DPRK acquires the information and technology necessary to enhance its WMD capabilities in exchange for supporting Russia with conventional weapons, such a deal between Russia and the DPRK will be a direct provocation," Yoon said.
Yoon also echoed concerns about Russia raised by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who said Wednesday that Moscow has abused its permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council and called for the removal of its veto power.
"In such a situation, the call to reform the U.N. Security Council would receive a broad support," Yoon said.
Seoul's foreign ministry followed up on Yoon's speech by imposing unilateral sanctions on 10 individuals and two entities involved in the North's illegal weapons trade with other countries, including Russia.