Putin awards commemorative WWII medal to Kim Jong Un

Elias Hubbard
May 6, 2020

The website, Meari, did not specifically mention the speculation, but its criticism appeared to target South Korean media that linked Kim's weekslong absence from the public eye to the possibility of his health problems.

Russian Ambassador handed the commemorative medal dubbed "75 Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945" to North Korean Foreign Minister.

Kim was honored "for his great personal contribution to the commemoration of dead and buried Soviet citizens on the territory of the DPRK and showing concern about the safety of the Soviet soldiers' graves and memorial sites", The Moscow Times reported.

Russia's Embassy in Pyongyang confirmed the development on Tuesday.

Until last week, speculation was rife that North Korea was on the verge of a destabilizing power of transition.

South Korea said Monday that it was protesting North Korea, saying its troops initiated a gunfire exchange over the weekend in the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone that divides both countries. This first raised speculation that something may be amiss.

US and South Korean intelligence reports, however, suggested that Kim was in normal health and that there were no signs of an imminent power transition or vacuum. Later reports suggested that Kim may have retreated to a coastal villa near the eastern city of Wonsan to avoid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. North Korea claims to have identified zero cases of coronavirus despite being bordered by three of the world's most affected countries: its origin nation, China; Russia; and South Korea. Kim visited Russian Federation in 2019 and met with President Vladimir Putin and other officials in the Pacific city of Vladivostok.

"The materialization of the dream and ideal of our people and triumphant advance of socialism depend on living our own way", a column in the North Korean outlet read. Rather than discuss Kim himself, the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) hailed the "wonderful construction" of the factory.

In 1945, the USSR helped liberate the Korean peninsula from Japanese forces, and more than 4,700 Soviet troops died.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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