Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un held a summit at a cosmodrome in Russia to discuss Pyongyang’s satellite program. The leaders also expressed mutual support in their respective fights against the West. Putin stated that the discussion would cover all issues, including the possibility of Russia providing supplies to replenish its weapons and ammunition stocks. The United States and its allies suspect that arms trade between Russia and North Korea may be on the agenda.
Kim emphasized the importance of further developing the friendship and ties between North Korea and Russia. He praised Putin for organizing the meeting at a space launch station, which he referred to as the heart of Russia’s position as a space superpower. Kim also expressed his support for Russia’s fight against hegemonic forces.
The summit between the two leaders, both facing international isolation, is being closely watched by the US and its allies. Concerns have been raised about the possibility of North Korea supplying weapons and ammunition to Russia, which has been depleted due to the conflict in Ukraine. However, both Moscow and Pyongyang have denied such intentions.
The choice of the Vostochny Cosmodrome, a symbol of Russia’s space ambitions, as the meeting venue is significant. North Korea’s previous attempts to launch reconnaissance satellites had failed, making the presence of Kim at the cosmodrome noteworthy.
Earlier, ahead of the summit, North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles, marking the first such launch while Kim was abroad. Analysts view this as a demonstration of increased delegation and improved control systems in the country’s nuclear and missile programs.
The discussions between Putin and Kim may also touch upon humanitarian aid to North Korea and the United Nations Security Council resolutions imposed on Pyongyang. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated that the two countries cooperate in sensitive areas, without providing further details.
Kim’s visit to Russia underscores the strategic importance of the bilateral ties between the two countries. The presence of key defense industry and military officials in Kim’s delegation suggests a focus on defense industry cooperation. Analysts speculate that North Korea may offer artillery rounds from its stockpile to enhance Russia’s capabilities. However, concerns have been raised about the quality of the ammunition. South Korea and the US have warned that such a deal would violate UN Security Council resolutions that Russia voted to approve.