Kim Jong-un ‘highly likely’ to visit Russia in May: S. Korean intel

April 29, 2015


SEOUL, April 29 (Yonhap) — North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is “highly” likely to visit Russia in May to attend commemorations to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, the South Korean intelligence agency said Wednesday.

The North’s young leader will likely visit Russia next month, given available information, two lawmakers told reporters after being briefed by the National Intelligence Service (NIS) in a closed-door parliamentary session.

It marked the first time that the NIS made a comment on Kim’s expected visit to Russia. If realized, it will mark Kim’s first overseas trip since taking power in late 2011 following the sudden death of his father, Kim Jong-il.

The spy agency said that Kim has not made a reservation for a hotel in Russia for his stay, but whether to make the reservation is not a key factor in predicting his visit as the North Korean Embassy in Russia is well equipped with accommodations, according to the lawmakers.

North Korea has increasingly been seeking to promote cooperation with Russia at a time when Pyongyang’s ties with China have been strained following the North’s nuclear test in 2013.

The spy agency also said that Kim’s younger sister Kim Yo-jong, 28, is likely to give birth next month, adding that her husband may be an alumnus of her alma mater, Kim Il-sung University. But it did not provide details.