North Korean leader visits power station in Russia

21st August 2011, Comments 0 comments

North Korea's reclusive leader Kim Jong Il on Sunday visited a hydro power station in Russia's Far East during a rare, week-long trip which includes a summit with President Dmitry Medvedev.

Crossing Russia's Far Eastern border the day before, Kim on Sunday toured the Bureiskaya hydro-electric station in the Amur region, an official in the regional administration told AFP.

"The Bureiskaya power station has a lot to be proud of," the official said, adding that the Kremlin's regional envoy Viktor Ishayev and a throng of local officials gave the 69-year-old leader a tour of the power station.

Kim's visit is shrouded in secrecy and the regional official spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity.

The Kremlin on Saturday released a terse statement confirming his arrival, saying a summit between Kim and Medvedev would be the highlight of the visit.

It did not provide further details but a Russian official, speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity, said that the summit was scheduled for "mid-week".

The meeting is widely expected to take place in the eastern Siberian city of Ulan Ude near Lake Baikal in the Buddhist region of Buryatia some 5,550 kilometres (3,450 miles) east of Moscow.

Kim last travelled to the Cold War ally in 2002 when he met then president Vladimir Putin in Vladivostok.

The visit is Kim's third to Russia in a decade and comes as his country of 24 million people battles acute food shortages and isolation.

© 2011 AFP

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