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The BBC's Caroline Wyatt
"One Russian governor managed to miss the great leader's arrival"
 real 28k

Dr Keith Howard, Senior lecturer of Korean studies
says North Korea feels that Russia can help it
 real 28k

Thursday, 26 July, 2001, 21:21 GMT 22:21 UK
Kim dismisses 'rogue' status
Officials welcome North Korean President Kim Jong Il
Russian officials welcome Kim Jong Il at the border
The North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Il, has accused the United States of seeking global domination with its opposition to Pyongyang's missile programme.

The American fuss over the 'missile threat' from our country is completely groundless

Kim Jong-il
In an interview with the Russian Itar-Tass news agency, Mr Kim said America's fear of a missile threat from what it calls "rogue states" - including North Korea - were groundless.

His comments came as he travelled across Russia by train to meet President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

The trip has been surrounded by secrecy, and was only officially confirmed as Mr Kim's heavily guarded 21 coach train crossed the border from North Korea into Russia.

Kim Jong-il boards his special train
The North Korean leader is thought to be afraid of flying
Mr Kim told the Russian news agency: "The American fuss over the 'missile threat' from our country is completely groundless".

He added: "It is no more than sophistry aimed at concealing the ambitions of those seeking to establish their global domination".

Mr Kim's marathon train journey is only second time he has left North Korea since becoming leader on the death of his father.

The North Korean leader and President Putin are expected to discuss the implications of the US missile shield plans during their meeting.

'Slow journey'

But it will be some time before the two men actually get face to face.

Mr Kim - who reportedly has a fear of flying - must travel along some 9,288km (5,758 miles) of track to reach the Russian capital, and is not expected to arrive until 4 August.

During two days of scheduled talks, the two men are also expected to discuss military co-operation and improved transport links, as well as the American missile defence shield.

Relations between Russia and North Korea have improved since Mr Putin became Russian president.

Mr Putin was greeted by huge crowds when he became the first Russian leader to visit North Korea last year.

Correspondents say Mr Putin has worked as a link between North Korea and western countries, as well as encouraging the thaw in relations between North and South Korea.

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See also:

18 Jul 00 | Asia-Pacific
Russia-China attack US missile plan
19 Jul 00 | Media reports
Russian press upbeat over Beijing
17 Jul 00 | Asia-Pacific
Shared aims at Beijing summit
12 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
North Korea: A military threat?
26 Apr 00 | Europe
Russia resists US missile plan
28 Mar 00 | Europe
Putin's foreign policy riddle
19 Jul 00 | Asia-Pacific
Analysis: North Korea sets its price
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