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[SEOUL] North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has confirmed his attendance at Russia's celebrations in May marking the Soviet victory over Germany in World War Two, South Korea's Yonhap news agency said on Wednesday quoting a Kremlin spokesman.
The trip, if it takes place, would be Kim's first foreign visit since taking power in the reclusive state in 2011, succeeding his father Kim Jong Il who died suddenly, and is likely to come before he visits China, the North's main ally. "About 20 state leaders have confirmed their attendance, and the North Korean leader is among them," Yonhap quoted the office of Kremlin spokesman as saying in response to its written question to President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
The North and Russia have been looking to boost ties, as political relations chilled with China after Kim took over and defied international warnings and UN sanctions to conduct a third nuclear test in 2013.
Earlier in January, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said North Korea has sent a positive signal after Putin invited its leader Kim to the victory celebrations.
Russia marks the victory anniversary every year on May 9.
Kim's father, Kim Jong Il was invited to the 60th anniversary celebrations in 2005 but did not attend, Yonhap said.