Putin Arrives In Pyongyang for Visit

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived at Pyongyang Sunan airport Wednesday afternoon for his two-day official visit to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) at the invitation of the Korean top leader Kim Jong Il.

Kim Jong Il, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Worker's Party of the DPRK, and chairman of DPRK's National Defense Commission, hosted a red-carpet, 21-gun ceremony to welcome Putin, the first Russian president who visited DPRK, at the airport.

Putin reviewed a guard of honor from the three forces in the company of Chairman Kim and then left for downtown Pyongyang.

Putin's entourage, including Russian Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov, Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, Defense Minister Igor Dmitriyevich Sergeyev, First Deputy Director of the Presidential Office Sergei Prikhodko, were also present at the ceremony.

It is said that Putin will meet with Kim Jong Il later this afternoon. The leaders of the two countries will exchange views on a series of issues including bilateral relations, security as well as economic cooperation.

The two sides will also sign a joint declaration and two accords during Putin's stay in Pyongyang.

The bilateral trade between the two countries stagnated since Russia established diplomatic relations with South Korea in September, 1990. It is said that total trade value between the two countries decreased from 1.1 billion U.S. dollars in 1990 to 50.12 millions last year.

People's Daily Online --- http://www.peopledaily.com.cn/english/