Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his willingness to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “in the near future”, AFP quoted the North’s state media as saying on Wednesday.

In a message on North Korea’s National Liberation Day on Wednesday, Putin said, “I affirm that I am ready to meet you at an early date to discuss urgent issues of bilateral relations and important matters of the region.” It did not mention a specific date for the meeting.

In June, Putin had invited Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in to an economic forum in Vladivostok, and he repeated Russia’s intention of holding the summit.

Putin also said that relations between the two states should continue to develop in a “friendly and constructive manner”, reported TASS. He hoped that Moscow and Pyongyang would “consistently develop mutually beneficial cooperation, including the implementation of the three-party programme involving Russia, North Korea and South Korea”.

Kim also sent a message to Putin, saying that the “valuable tradition” of their joint wartime struggle against Japan was the “strong roots” of their bilateral relations, reported AFP, quoting the Korean Central News Agency. It didn’t clarify if Kim’s message to Putin was sent before or after the Russian president’s offer of an earlier meeting.

North Korea’s Liberation Day commemorates the end of Japan’s rule over Korea at the end of World War II.