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North Korea Leader Sending Special Envoy To Russia


North Korean leader Kim Jong Un plans to send a close associate to Russia as a special envoy at a time when Pyongyang faces increasing diplomatic isolation.

The secretive communist nation's Korean Central News Agency announced Choe Ryong Hae's planned trip on November 14.

It did not give the timing or the exact purpose of the trip.

Analysts say North Korea may want to strengthen relations with its Soviet-era patron to balance out ties with China, which has been cooler toward Pyongyang since it fueled tensions last year with its third nuclear test and threats of nuclear strikes against Seoul and Washington.

Russia has been cultivating North Korea as part of a campaign to increase its influence in Asia.

The announcement comes ahead of an expected UN General Assembly vote next week on a resolution, put forth by the EU and Japan, that condemns the North's human rights record.

Based on reporting by AP, BBC

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