North Korea's Kim Boasts of 'Invincible' Ties with Russia amid Talks of Putin Visit

Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un examine a launch pad during their meeting at the Vostochny cosmodrome outside the city of Tsiolkovsky, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) from the city of Blagoveshchensk in the far eastern Amur region, Russia, on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023. (Mikhail Metzel, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un examine a launch pad during their meeting at the Vostochny cosmodrome outside the city of Tsiolkovsky, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) from the city of Blagoveshchensk in the far eastern Amur region, Russia, on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023. (Mikhail Metzel, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
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North Korea's Kim Boasts of 'Invincible' Ties with Russia amid Talks of Putin Visit

Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un examine a launch pad during their meeting at the Vostochny cosmodrome outside the city of Tsiolkovsky, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) from the city of Blagoveshchensk in the far eastern Amur region, Russia, on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023. (Mikhail Metzel, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un examine a launch pad during their meeting at the Vostochny cosmodrome outside the city of Tsiolkovsky, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) from the city of Blagoveshchensk in the far eastern Amur region, Russia, on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023. (Mikhail Metzel, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has said his country is an "invincible comrade-in-arms" with Russia in a message to President Vladimir Putin, state media KCNA said on Wednesday, amid speculation over Putin's impending visit to North Korea.Marking Russia's National Day, Kim said his meeting with Putin at a Russian space launch facility last year elevated the ties of their "century-old strategic relationship", Reuters reported.The message came after Russia's Vedomosti newspaper on Monday reported Putin would visit North Korea and Vietnam in the coming weeks.Putin's visit to North Korea is expected to take place in a few days, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported early on Thursday, citing a senior official at the presidential office.An official in Vietnam told Reuters the Vietnam trip was planned for June 19 and 20, but has not yet been confirmed. The Kremlin has said Russia wants to foster cooperation with North Korea "in all areas" but has not confirmed the date of the visit.Officials in Washington and Seoul have accused North Korea of shipping weapons to Russia to support its war against Ukraine in exchange for technological aid with its own nuclear and missile programs.Kim traveled to Russia's Far East last September, touring the Vostochny Cosmodrome space launch center, where Putin promised to help him build satellites.Kim also lauded Russia for achieving results on its efforts to build a strong country despite "suppressing and crushing all the challenges and sanctions and pressures of hostile forces".Pyongyang and Moscow have increasingly stepped up diplomatic and security relations, hosting government, parliamentary and other delegations in recent months.A group of North Korean officials in charge of public security was set to visit Russia this week.



Biden Battles COVID and Democrats as Crisis Grows

President Joe Biden walks down the steps of Air Force One at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, Wednesday, July 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
President Joe Biden walks down the steps of Air Force One at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, Wednesday, July 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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Biden Battles COVID and Democrats as Crisis Grows

President Joe Biden walks down the steps of Air Force One at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, Wednesday, July 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
President Joe Biden walks down the steps of Air Force One at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, Wednesday, July 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Joe Biden holed up at his beach house Thursday, battling both a bout of COVID and calls by senior allies for him to abandon his 2024 reelection bid.

While rival Donald Trump prepared for his star turn at the Republican National Convention, the 81-year-old US president found himself in both personal and political isolation.

The top Democrats in Congress, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, both reportedly met with Biden in recent days to warn that his candidacy threatens his party's prospects in November's election.

Influential former House speaker Nancy Pelosi added to his woes by privately telling Biden he cannot win and could harm Democrats' chances of recapturing the lower chamber, CNN reported.

Several party figures were meanwhile quoted anonymously by the Axios news outlet as saying that they believed the pressure would persuade Biden to drop out as soon as this weekend.

Biden has insisted he is not backing down, adamant that he is the candidate who beat Trump before and will do it again this year. Pressed about reports that Biden might be softening to the idea of leaving the race, his deputy campaign manager Quentin Fulks said Thursday: “He is not wavering on anything.”

"He's staying in the race," Fulks told a press conference on the sidelines of the Republican convention in Milwaukee.

"Our campaign is not working through any scenarios where President Biden is not the top of the ticket -- he is and will be the Democratic nominee."

California Senator Alex Padilla said Biden was "not skipping a beat."

"I know having spoken to him personally he's committed to the campaign," he added.

Using mountains of data showing Biden’s standing could wipe out the ranks of Democrats in Congress, frank conversations in public and private, and now, the president’s own time off the campaign trail after testing positive for COVID-19, many Democrats see an opportunity to encourage a reassessment.

Biden told reporters on Wednesday that he was "doing well."

His COVID diagnosis however came at the worst possible time for his campaign, forcing him to cut short a trip to Las Vegas and isolate at his holiday home in Rehoboth, Delaware.

The split-screen with Trump could not have been more stark, with Trump set to formally accept the Republican nomination in Milwaukee.

US networks showed images of frail looking Biden gingerly descending the steps of Air Force One in Delaware, in a week when Trump is lauded by supporters each night at a packed party convention.

Former president Trump, who at 78 is just three years younger than Biden, is riding a wave of support from his party after surviving an assassination attempt on Saturday that left him with a bandaged ear.

The United States could now be approaching the climax of an extraordinary three weeks in politics, which started when Biden gave a disastrous performance during a televised debate with Trump.

Biden blamed jet lag and a cold, but the fact that America's commander-in-chief has now fallen ill for a second time just as fears grow about his fitness for the job has merely intensified the panic in Democratic ranks.