North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Vostochny space center in Russia. Kim arrived in Russia via his private armored train, and the discussions between the two leaders have sparked speculations of a potential arms deal and military cooperation.
During the meeting, Putin mentioned the possibility of supporting Pyongyang’s satellite development. However, the United States views this as a tactic by Moscow to acquire weapons in support of its conflict with Ukraine, claiming it goes against UN Security Council resolutions.
This visit by Putin makes him one of the few state leaders to visit North Korea. The meeting comes at a time when both countries find themselves in strained relationships with the West.
Upon Kim’s arrival, he received a warm welcome from Putin, who personally accompanied him around the space center. The two leaders seemed to be in high spirits as they shook hands.
While historical ties between the Soviet Union and North Korea were mentioned, concerns about Russia aiding North Korea’s satellite and missile programs were also addressed. The US has expressed its worries about potential violations of UN Security Council resolutions by Russia in this regard.
Kim’s visit to Russia is expected to include observing Russian warships, touring factories, and visiting the city of Vladivostok. The duration of his stay is unknown.
The development of a military surveillance satellite remains a priority for North Korea, despite previous failed attempts. The US is concerned that the satellite program could also enhance the country’s ballistic missile capabilities.
There are also concerns about the effectiveness of sanctions on both Russia and North Korea. Some analysts speculate that these sanctions could actually consolidate the two countries, making it difficult for the US to leverage them to resolve conflicts. However, any evidence linking North Korean weapons to Russia’s actions in Ukraine could result in further sanctions and turn NATO against North Korea.