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Russian City Gets Plaque Honoring Kim Jong Il

A large plaque commemorating the late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has been put up in the Russian city of Khabarovsk.

The government of the Khabarovsk region, which borders North Korea, said a ceremony was held on December 16 to unveil the plaque, which stands on a pedestal on an embankment in the center of the city.

The plaque says, in Russian and Korean: "The General Secretary of Korea's Labor Party, the Chairman of the State Committee for Defense of the Korean People's Democratic Republic, Kim Jong Il, visited Khabarovsk on August 11, 2011" -- a reference to a stop on train trip Kim made across Russia that year.

Kim died in December of 2011.

Moscow's ties with former client state North Korea faded after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, but Russia has been cultivating the isolated communist state again as part of a campaign to increase its influence in Asia.

Kim's son, the current ruler Kim Jong Un, sent a special envoy to Moscow last month, and the Japanese newspaper "Asahi Shimbun" reported on December 17 that he plans to visit in May.

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