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    NORTH KOREAN LEADER CONGRATULATES PUTIN ON HIS RE-ELECTION

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    TOKYO/BEIJING, March 16, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - North Korean leader Kim Chong-Il has congratulated Vladimir Putin on his re-election to the post of Russian President.

    In his greeting he expressed "certainty that relations of friendship and cooperation between the two countries will invariably expand and develop." The statement was broadcast on Tuesday by the Central Telegraph Agency of Korea. Kim Chong-Il wished Mr. Putin "even greater success in the responsible task of achieving the country's stability and prosperity." President of the Supreme People's Assembly Presidium Kim Yong-nam has also sent his congratulations to Putin.

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