Thought for the day

"We hang petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office." -- Aesop, Greek slave & fable author

Vladimir Putin has said Russia and North Korea will expand bilateral relations. Putin told the North Korean ruler, Kim Jong-un, that the two countries would "expand the comprehensive and constructive bilateral relations with common efforts", the Pyongyang's state news agency KCNA reported on Monday. Separately, the Russian ambassador in Kabul, Dmitry Zhirnov, has said working with the Taliban is necessary where it "suits our interests", the Guardian reported.

The state medias of Russia and North Korea are reporting that leaders Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un have communicated mutual messages pledging deeper ties between the two nations, at a moment both find themselves heavily sanctioned by the United States and its allies.

 Beijing cannot ignore the deployment of US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) systems in South Korea as it undermines China’s strategic security, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Friday.

“China has always respected South Korea’s sovereignty and understood its security concerns, but the US deployment of THAAD missile systems in South Korea undermines China’s strategic security, and Beijing cannot ignore this,” Wang told a briefing.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has made a lot of international waves lately. Days ago, China was infuriated by her choice to visit the island nation of Taiwan.

China views Taiwan as nothing more than an extension of itself. Therefore, the communist regime loathes the idea of anyone showing legitimacy to Taiwan as its own nation.

The Chinese communist regime even went as far as threatening to have the House Speaker’s plane blown out of the sky if she visited Taiwan. Yet, Pelosi still went through with the visit.

South Korea foreign minister Park Jin is set for his first visit to China on Monday as President Yoon Suk-yeol's government seeks to reassure Beijing about their relationship despite stronger ties with the United States and tensions over Taiwan.

Park is scheduled for a three-day stay in the eastern port city of Qingdao, during which he will hold talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Seoul's foreign ministry said. Park is the first high-level official to travel to China since Yoon took office in May.

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North Korea has offered 100,000 "volunteer" troops to the Kremlin to help Russia win the war against Ukraine, according to Russian state media.

"There are reports that 100,000 North Korean volunteers are prepared to come and take part in the conflict," said the Russian military pundit Igor Korotchenko on Channel One Russia, per the New York Post.

Korotchenko praised the North Korean military's "wealth of experience with counter-battery warfare," the newspaper reported.

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her South Korean counterpart vowed on Thursday to support deterrence against North Korea and achieve its denuclearisation.

"Both sides expressed concerns about the dire situation of North Korea's growing threat," Pelosi and South Korea's National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo said in a joint statement after meeting in Seoul.

South Korea launched its first lunar orbiter on Friday as it doubles down on its space programmes, aiming to land a probe on the moon by 2030.

The Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter, nicknamed Danuri, meaning "enjoy the Moon", was launched on SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket from Florida's Cape Canaveral U.S. Space Force Station at 8:08 a.m. on Friday (2308 GMT on Thursday), South Korea's science ministry said.

The 678 kg (1,495 lb) Danuri separated from the projectile about 40 minutes after launch and began communicating with a ground station around 9:40 a.m.