- The Washington Times - Friday, December 19, 2014

Russian President Vladimir Putin has invited North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un for his first visit to Moscow next year, a spokesman for Mr. Putin said Friday.

The visit will mark the 70th anniversary of the Soviet defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II, The Guardian reported.

Russia celebrates the former Soviet Union’s 1945 victory every year on May 9.

The invitation comes amid warming relations between the two Cold War-era allies. Last month, the North Korean leader’s personal envoy traveled to Moscow as part of efforts to improve diplomatic relations.

Both countries would benefit from increased cooperation as the Kremlin seeks a new route for natural gas exports to South Korea via a gas pipeline through North Korea, and North Korea could benefit from Russia’s veto power on the United Nations Security Council.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also said North Korea is considering resuming talks on its nuclear program. The talks between North Korea, South Korea, Japan, China, Russia and the U.S. began in 2003 but were suspended after it was revealed that nuclear devices were tested in Pyongyang in 2006 and 2009.

Last month a U.N. committee passed a resolution calling on the Security Council to refer North Korea to the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity, the Guardian reported.

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