North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has canceled his planned trip to Moscow for Russia’s Victory Day, according to the Kremlin.
“He has decided to stay in Pyongyang,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Thursday, saying Moscow received the information via “diplomatic channels.”
The visit, which would have been Kim Jong Un’s first overseas trip since taking power, was called off due to unspecified “internal North Korean issues,” Peskov added.
Russia invited world leaders, including Kim, to the May 9 ceremony in Moscow marking the 70th anniversary of Russia’s victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.
Until Thursday, Russia had said it was preparing for Kim to make the trip, telling VOA’s Korean service recently it was “working through all the logistical questions.”
The cancelation comes a day after South Korea’s intelligence service told lawmakers it is likely that Kim will make the trip.
Kim is not known to have visited a foreign country or met another head of state since he took power in late 2011 following the sudden death of his father, Kim Jong Il.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye was invited to the event, but decided not to attend. The U.S. will be represented by its envoy to Moscow.