North Korean leader completes his tour of Russia's Far East

Chairman of the North Korean Defence Committee Kim Jong-il will complete his tour of Russia's Far East Saturday.

In the evening of August 24th Kim Jong-il's train will cross the border between Russia and North Korea near the Hasan station.

To quote the North Korean leader, he is happy with his trip around Russia's Far East "to 1,000 percent." Having arrived in Russia on August 20th, Kim Jong-il has visited Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Khabarovsk and Vladivostok. The North Korean head of state has had a series of business meetings and inspected a few enterprises. Like in 2001 he was escorted by the Russian president's plenipotentiary to the Far Eastern federal district Konstantin Pulikovsky.

In Vladivostok Kim Jong-il met Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss further development of bilateral relations and the progress of inter-Korean dialogue. On the agenda were also issues dealing with the joining together of the Trans-Siberian and Trans-Korean railways.

In particular, the North Korean leader visited the sea trade port of Vladivostok. At the end of WWII Soviet landing ships took off from the Vladivostok sea port to liberate the Korean peninsula from the Japanese occupation. The Pacific Fleet marines and Soviet troops took an active part in Korea's liberation. In the post-war years specialists of the Vladivostok port helped their North Korean colleagues build wharfs, repair Soviet loading equipment, and shared their business experience.

During his visit to the port, Kim Jong-il asked about the enterprise's activities in the market economy conditions, about the dockers' wages and the privileges they have as the port's workers.

Unlike in 2001 when the North Korean leader's tour on the train hampered passenger and cargo trains' movement, this time there were no such problems. Kim Jong-il's personal train ran according to a special schedule which did not affect railway traffic.

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