As the US threatens sanctions, Kim Jong-un travels to Russia to meet with Putin.
Concerns that Putin is seeking a weapons deal for the Ukraine war cause the North Korean leader to board an armored train for discussions.
To examine the possibility of an agreement to provide North Korea with armaments for the war in Ukraine, Kim Jong-un has traveled to Russia in his armored train for a rare visit with Vladimir Putin.
According to an unknown Russian official source, the train landed at Khasan station, which serves as North Korea’s primary rail connection to Russia’s Far East, on Tuesday.
Kim may meet Putin on Wednesday in the Russian port city of Vladivostok, where Putin has already arrived, reportedly accompanied by senior military and arms industry personnel.
According to the Kremlin spokeswoman, Kim’s travel to Russia and meeting with Putin will be a comprehensive effort to bolster relations. Dmitry Peskov stated that following the negotiations between the two delegations, “the leaders will continue their communication in a one-on-one format, if necessary.”
He said that neither leader intended to hold a news conference and suggested that Kim and Putin might meet after the event.
Neither the meeting’s location nor Kim’s attendance at the economic forum have been confirmed.
There are worries in the west that Pyongyang intends to give Moscow weaponry to replenish supplies that have been severely depleted during the 18-month conflict in Ukraine.
In a statement attributed to Peskov on Tuesday, Russian news media reported that he ignored US cautions against any arms transaction, saying: “As you know, while conducting our ties with our neighbors, including North Korea, the interests of our two countries are vital to us, and not cautions from Washington. Our best interests are served by
Senior government officials, including military people, were with Kim, according to the official KCNA news agency of North Korea. His foreign minister Choe Son-hui and important party figures in charge of military and defense issues, including the director of the munitions production department Jo Chun-ryong, are reportedly among the delegation.
According to Michael Madden, a North Korea leadership expert at the Stimson Center in Washington, “Jo Chun-ryong’s presence suggests that North Korea and Russia will come to some sort of agreement for the purchase of munitions.”
Earlier, KCNA published images of Kim’s departure from Pyongyang, where there were military honor guards and throngs of Koreans waving flowers and flags as he boarded the green and yellow train. They were dressed in dark suits and bright outfits.
Kim will be traveling for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic and her first international vacation in more than four years.
US experts predict that as he tries to halt a Ukrainian counteroffensive, Putin will concentrate on obtaining more North Korean artillery and other munitions.
Kim might ask for oil and food assistance in exchange, as well as advanced satellite and nuclear-powered submarine technology that might heighten the threat presented by North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs.
However, other observers think that in exchange for a finite amount of artillery shells and other munitions, Russia would be unwilling to divulge specifics of its tightly guarded weapon technology.
Prof. Leif-Eric Easley is an expert on North Korea at Ewha University in Seoul. He stated: “Putin is unlikely to give Kim technology to miniaturize nuclear devices or propel nuclear-powered submarines because even a desperate war machine does not trade its military crown jewels for old munitions.”
The US would be more worried about a lengthy confrontation in Ukraine if North Korean artillery shells and anti-tank missiles were secured in large quantities.
Using the acronym for North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, White House national security council spokesman Adrienne Watson stated that “arms talks between Russia and the DPRK are expected to continue during Kim Jong-un’s visit to Russia.” “We call on the DPRK to honor its public pledges to stop supplying or selling arms to Russia.”
The US State Department warned again on Monday that any arms purchase may result in US penalties and characterized Putin as desperate over the conflict in Ukraine.
The spokeswoman for the State Department, Matthew Miller, said: “I would characterize it as him begging for assistance. He had to travel across the length of his own country to meet with an international pariah to ask for support in a war that he anticipated to win in the first month.
I’ll remind both nations that any transfer of weapons from North Korea to Russia would be against many resolutions of the UN Security Council.