Putin, Kim Jong Un Bolster Ties Amid Global Tensions, Eyeing Mutual Gains

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Amid the events unfolding on the world stage, a powerful duo harbors shared traits and aspirations that continue to cement their bond – Vladimir Putin of Russia and Kim Jong Un of North Korea. Both leaders, known for their reclusive tendencies, have been firmly rooted in their homelands with Putin forgoing foreign travel this year, while Kim Jong Un hasn’t crossed the North Korean border in a span of four years. The global community accuses both nations of embracing the mantle of “rogue states”, enduring heavy international sanctions whilst denouncing the imagined authority of the United States.

Indeed, the adage an enemy’s enemy is a friend holds true when it comes to the emergent relations between Putin and Kim Jong Un. This political union is driven less by celestial blessings and more by the undercurrents of the ever-changing geo-political landscape of 2023. This kinship, however, isn’t a conventional bromance as you might find in the cordiality once expressed by former U.S. President Donald Trump towards Kim Jong Un. Rather, the bond between Putin and Kim hinges on the prospective benefits a closer alliance might yield.

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So, what potential gains lie in store for Russia? To begin with, the vast defense industry of North Korea holds appeal with its considerable production capabilities. This, coupled with the ongoing warfare in Ukraine, places Pyongyang as a potentially indispensable source of munitions for Moscow.

Such a conjecture isn’t without basis. Rumors insist that talks discussing arms supplies between the two nations are progressing at a steady pace, with Russia allegedly seeking ammunition and artillery shells from North Korea. While there’s no official confirmation, numerous hints float around hinting at efforts to bolster military collaboration between the two nations.

In a historic visit to North Korea, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu marked yet another vital step towards this alliance during the 70th Anniversary of the Korean armistice. Kim Jong Un took the opportunity to guide the minister through a weapons exhibition while dropping hints concerning joint military exercises in the offing.

However, not all see this alliance in a positive light. Former Russian foreign minister Andrei Kozyrev labels this as a ‘humiliation’ of Russia’s projected image as a global powerhouse. He believes a true world power wouldn’t seek alliances or military supplies from North Korea—an isolated and underdeveloped nation.

The shared strife and mutual enemies bind Putin’s Russia and Kim Jong Un’s North Korea, even in times of global tumult. Putin’s aggression against Ukraine hints at a mindset bent on recrafting the world order to serve Russia’s interests. The brewing military solidarity with North Korea appears as a mere extension of this intent.

A potential arms agreement between Moscow and Pyongyang signals an unexpected shift—given that Russia had previously supported UN Security Council sanctions lodged against North Korea concerning its nuclear weapons development. However, recent hints suggest Russia might rescind their support for these sanctions—a sentiment that would certainly delight Kim Jong Un.

Beyond this, North Korea likely envisions additional benefits from this alliance, including humanitarian aid from Russia to combat its food shortages. Not to mention, Pyongyang could gain access to advanced Russian technology, strengthening its military and satellite capabilities and possibly leading to the creation of nuclear-powered submarines.

Still, it’s crucial to note that despite Russia’s struggles in the face of an unsuccessful war, Putin isn’t desperate for aid. He’s capable of enduring and adapting, circumventing sanctions, and seeking alliances with other nations to sustain Russia’s power. Even without North Korea, the Russian war machine isn’t poised to falter. As Kozyrev attests, while these temporary strategies may not be ideal for the future, they work for the current times and likely the years to come.