North Korea and Russia declared 2015, which is the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, as "Friendship Year." The two countries have intensified their relationship, with goals to increase trading to $1 billion a year.
Cozy relations between North Korea and Russia aren't exactly new. After all, the Kim regime has long had ties to Russia. This photo from August 29, 2011 by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency shows Russia's now Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev shaking hands with the late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.
North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong is on an international trip this month spanning Belarus, Russia and Cuba. In Havana, Ri met with Cuba's Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez. The two Communist countries have maintained ties since 1960s. Cuban media reported that its president Raul Castro also received Ri.
AP Photo/Liu Bin, Pool
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong stopped in Belarus last week. At a meeting in Minsk, Belarus and North Korean officials discussed the UN and the principles of non-interference, according to North Korean state media, KCNA. Ri is seen with Belarus Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei on March 9, 2015.
MAXIM MALINOVSKY/AFP/Getty Images
Rarely a week goes by where the North Korean state media doesn't trumpet its friendship with Syria's president Bashar al-Assad. A North Korean delegation visited him in Syria on March 8, according to KCNA. North Korea officials hailed Syria's standoff with the U.S. saying: "The hostile acts of the U.S. imperialists make the relations between Syria and the DPRK stronger."
Iran and North Korea have enjoyed a long-term partnership, raising concerns for the U.S. about advancing their nuclear and missiles program. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani met with North Korean officials in Tehran on September 16, 2014.
BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images
North Korea's mass games, the annual spectacle, regularly features the flags of both North Korea and China. The two countries have been longtime historic allies since China came to the aid of North Koreans during the Korean War. However, some observers believe relations between the two nations have cooled recently.