SEOUL – North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin exchanged greetings on Thursday on the occasion of the 74th anniversary of the end of the Japanese occupation of Korea (1910-1945).
In the messages, Kim and Putin expressed their desire to deepen bilateral relations as agreed during the first summit they held in April in the Russian city of Vladivostok, according to North Korea’s state news agency KCNA.
Kim’s message said “that the two peoples have inherited from one century into the next the feelings of comrades-in-arms which was formed in the joint struggle of the grim great anti-Japanese war, and the DPRK (North Korean) people are always remembering the noble internationalist feats of the heroic officers and men of the Red Army who laid down their precious lives for the sacred cause of Korea’s liberation,” according to KCNA.
The Russian president said that relations between Moscow and Pyongyang are “of friendly and constructive character and that the summit talks held in Vladivostok on April 25 clearly prove it,” according to KCNA’s message.
Putin expressed his conviction that implementing “the agreements reached at the summit talks would contribute to further strengthening the bilateral cooperation in several fields and ensuring the stability and security in the Korean Peninsula,” KCNA added.
The exchange of messages occurred on the 74th anniversary of Liberation Day on the peninsula, which marks the end of the Japanese colonial era (1910-1945) with the surrender of Japan in World War II.
Both South and North Korea will hold commemorative events on Thursday.
In Japan, as every year, the fallen will be honored in a memorial organized in Tokyo in which Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the Emperor Naruhito will participate.
Abe repeated a ritual that is often criticized when he sent an offering to the Yasukuni Shrine in the capital, seen by neighboring countries as a symbol of the country’s militaristic past.
The shrine honors those killed in Japan between the end of the 19th century and 1945, including 14 politicians and officers of the imperial army convicted as Class A war criminals for acts committed during World War II.