On Wednesday, Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin had a rare meeting at the Russian spaceport in Vostochny, which has raised concerns in Western countries that North Korea might provide military assistance to Russia’s President in the war against Ukraine.
According to Russia’s state news agency TASS, both leaders met at the entrance of the Launch Vehicle Assembly Building, where Kim expressed gratitude to Putin for inviting him to Russia despite his busy schedule. After inspecting their spaceports, they were expected to have face-to-face discussions among their delegations.
North Korean state media reported on Wednesday that Kim’s private train arrived in a Russian station just across the northeastern border of North Korea, following local time. There, Kim was greeted with a red carpet by Natural Resources Minister Alexander Kozlov, Regional Governor Oleg Kozemayako, honor guards, and a military band.
Kim stated that his trip to Russia, his first since 2019 and the first one outside North Korea in three years, signifies the priority his government places on North Korea-Russia relations, calling it of “strategic importance.” Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin’s spokesperson, had previously mentioned that the leaders would discuss various topics, including business and economic relations, as well as cultural exchanges.
Experts suggest that Russia needs support in its military campaign against Ukraine, as it attempts to thwart Ukraine’s retaliatory attacks, while North Korea is seeking Russian aid in advancing its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, along with energy and food assistance.
The White House has repeatedly warned North Korea against any arms deals with Russia, which would violate several United Nations Security Council resolutions.
Russia’s Far East is sparsely populated and underdeveloped on a large scale, and Vostochny Spaceport, one of Putin’s favorite projects, is one of the locations in the region suitable for a high-profile meeting between Russia and North Korea. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is…
Remote, high-security facilities are within a four to six-hour drive from Blagoveshchensk, and the roads are mostly open from all directions, with only a few checkpoints interrupted by several layers of barriers. Inside, facilities are designed to accommodate large foreign delegations.
Images published by North Korean state media showed Kim with Foreign Minister Cho Sun-hui and senior military officers Ri Pyong-chol and Pak Jong-chon, as well as military hardware officials Jo Chun-ryong. On Tuesday, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff announced that the Putin-Kim meeting took place as North Korea continued to launch ballistic missiles toward the sea.
Putin’s meeting with Kim took place as North Korea continued to launch ballistic missiles into the sea amid ongoing weapon tests. Joint Chiefs of Staff of South Korea mentioned that on Tuesday, during the Putin-Kim meeting, North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea, which raised tensions in the region.