North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been welcomed in Russia with an official ceremony including a brass band and a red carpet roll out. Imminent talks, focusing on a potential armaments pact, with Russian president Vladimir Putin are brewing.
Emarking on an intensively scrutinized journey, Mr. Kim undertook a two-day odyssey aboard an armoured train to reach Russia’s farthest east, the Vostochny space centre. Notably, just hours prior to the commencement of the meeting, Pyongyang initiated a ballistic missile launch.
As anticipated, the two sanctioned administrations are poised to lay down an agreement trading weapons for humanitarian aid. The diplomatic encounter between Mr. Putin and Mr. Kim draws the vigilant eyes of the US and its allies. However, both Pyongyang and Moscow reject the assertion their discourse revolves around military cooperation.
The White House recently revealed its awareness of progressive negotiations between Russia and North Korea concerning a weapons deal.
John Kirby, spokesman for the National Security Council passed on that, during a recent visit to North Korea, Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu proposed Pyongyang sell artillery ammunition to Russia.
Simultaneously, North Korea expresses desires for food aid and possible technological support for its prohibited nuclear and missile agenda, according to analysts.
Despite these claims, the Kremlin stated the “fully fledged visit” would address “bilateral relations, the regional situation, and global arena issues.”
Through state media, Mr. Kim underscored his visit signifies the “strategic importance” of the relationship between Pyongyang and Moscow.
Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin spokesman, assured Russia would remain true to its national interest, prioritizing mutual concerns over Washington warnings.
During his visit, Kim met with Alexander Kozlov, Russia’s minister for natural resources. The much-anticipated meeting, expected to unfold in Vladivostok, witnessed Mr. Kim bypassing the city and pressing north towards the space centre.
Hosting the most advanced space centre of Russia – and allegedly a pet project for Mr. Putin, the Vostochny space centre may be sought by North Korea for collaboration on its space programme. The suggestion arises given North Korea’s recent unsuccessful attempt to orbit a spy satellite, due to a failed rocket launch.
Greeted by a Russian delegation and accompanying brass band at the Khasan border station, Mr. Kim made a pitstop before continuing towards the space centre. Rumors suggest Mr. Kim’s train, equipped with a minimum of 20 heavy bulletproof carriages, progresses at a sluggish pace of only around 37mph because of the extra weight.
Mr. Kim’s previous venture abroad was in Vladivostok during 2019 for a summit with Mr. Putin, which took place after nuclear disarmament negotiations with then-US president Donald Trump fell apart.