In a recent diplomatic gesture, Russia presented North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, with a unique gift: a photograph of Yuri Gagarin, the first human to journey into outer space, complete with the cosmonaut's autograph.
This significant token was handed over as Kim Jong-un crossed the Russian border in the early hours of a Wednesday morning.
The North Korean leader's entry into Russia was marked by gifts from the Russian government. The news was confirmed by the Russian state news agency, Tass. Kim Jong-un's visit to Russia is highly anticipated, as he is expected to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin at one of Russia's primary space launch sites, the Vostochny Cosmodrome.
Upon his arrival, it was Russia's Minister of Natural Resources, Aleksandr Kozlov, who greeted Kim Jong-un in the small border town of Khasan.
Kozlov didn't come empty-handed. He presented the North Korean leader with three historical photographs. Two of these images showcased groups of Soviet cosmonauts, including Yuri Gagarin. Another photograph depicted Sergei Korolev, a renowned Russian rocket designer. Making these photographs even more special, they were adorned with the autographs of the individuals they portrayed.
Yuri Gagarin's journey into space in April 1961 marked a significant milestone in human history. He became the first person to travel into space, a feat that solidified his place in the annals of space exploration.
Later in his state visit, Kim Jong-un is scheduled to meet with Putin. There are concerns in the West that the North Korean leader might pledge to support Russia's ongoing conflict in Ukraine by supplying weapons.
This trip to Russia is notably Kim Jong-un's first in almost four years, as reported by the North Korean state news agency KCNA, cited by Reuters. It's also his first international visit since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw numerous countries shutting their borders.
The visit is perceived as an effort to rejuvenate the relationship between Russia and North Korea, aiming to elevate their ties to a "fresh and higher level."