MOSCOW: North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has cancelled his planned visit to Moscow to attend Russia’s World War II anniversary celebrations on May 9, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said on Thursday.
“He will not come. This is related to internal North Korean issues,” Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told AFP, saying the message had been received “through diplomatic channels.”
He did not provide further details.
Earlier this year the Kremlin said Kim had agreed to travel to Russia for the celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany, in what had been expected to become Kim’s first foreign trip since taking power in 2011.
Russia has invited 68 heads of state and leaders of international organizations to attend the WWII commemorations but only about a third of them are expected to participate in a major Red Square parade on May 9.
Kim joined a long list of the planned no-shows including US President Barack Obama and the leaders of France and Britain.
On the bright side for the Kremlin, Chinese President Xi Jinping is among those expected to attend.
Russia is one of North Korea’s few allies, along with China.
The late North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il visited Russia in August 2011 in his personal train for a rare meeting with then Russian president Dmitry Medvedev.