Gov't Flailing in Wake of False Prediction About Kim Jong-un

      May 08, 2015 09:26

      The government on Thursday scrambled to regain its diplomatic footing after a confident prediction that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will visit Moscow -- a day before Russia announced Kim has canceled.

      A senior South Korean official on Thursday told reporters in Beijing, "Kim's decision not to travel to Russia will have an effect on North Korea's ties with China," presumably by bringing the two closer.

      The official speculated that internal matters, the North's nuclear weapons development, difficult security for Kim, and the insufficient economic aid from Russia persuaded Kim not to attend the 70th anniversary celebrations in Moscow of the Soviet Union's victory in World War II on May 9.

      All these reasons had previously been mentioned in the press.

      North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visits a factory in South Hamgyong Province in this photo released by the Rodong Sinmun on Thursday.

      The official then added a fresh layer of unsubstantiated speculation by saying Kim could visit Beijing in due course.

      China has also invited Kim to a parade marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in September, but he is unlikely to brave an event where global leaders will cut him dead.

      "Both Pyongyang and Beijing want to improve relations," the official added.

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