North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in Russia today ahead of a meeting with President Vladimir Putin, in which the United States warned that an arms deal could be finalized to support Moscow’s attack on Ukraine.
In a rare trip abroad and the first since the pandemic, a serious Kim waved from the door of his heavily armored private train as it departed Pyongyang on Sunday night, according to images published by North Korean state media.
Kim will meet Putin at an unspecified location in Russia’s Far East region later this week, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
Putin is currently attending the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, the Far Eastern city closest to the border with North Korea, although there has been no indication that the internationally isolated pair would hold their talks there.
Experts say Moscow will likely seek artillery shells and anti-tank missiles from North Korea, which in return wants advanced satellite and nuclear-powered submarine technology.
Kim Jong Un waved as he departed by train from Pyongyang to visit Russia on Sunday.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in Russia today ahead of a meeting with President Vladimir Putin, in which the United States warned that an arms deal could be finalized to support Moscow’s attack on Ukraine. Pictured: Kim Jong Un received a farewell on the red carpet on Sunday.
Kim Jong Un received a red carpet send-off as he departed Pyongyang for Russia on Sunday.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in Russia today ahead of a meeting with President Vladimir Putin (pictured together in 2019) that the United States warned could lead to an arms deal to support Moscow’s attack on Ukraine.
The White House warned last week that North Korea would “pay a price” if it supplies Russia with weapons for the conflict in Ukraine.
Defying warnings, Kim left North Korea for Russia on Sunday, according to the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
He was accompanied by senior North Korean military officials, including officials in charge of weapons production and space technology, he added.
Peskov said the two leaders would “cooperate in sensitive areas that should not be the subject of public disclosure and announcements.”
KCNA footage showed Kim receiving a “warm farewell” with a red carpet and honor guard at Pyongyang station around 6:38 p.m. (09:38 GMT).
On Tuesday, Russia’s state news agency Ria Novosti said Kim had crossed the border, with images showing the train with dark green cars being pulled along a track by a Russian Railways locomotive.
Kim is traveling to Russia with his top military officers, including Korean People’s Army Marshal Pak Jong Chon and Munitions Industry Department director Jo Chun Ryong, analysts said.
This indicates that a Putin-Kim summit “will likely focus heavily on possible military cooperation between Russia and North Korea,” Yang Moo-jin, president of Seoul’s University of North Korean Studies, told AFP.
Moscow sent Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to Pyongyang in July. He has recently proposed bilateral joint naval exercises.
Kim Jong Un waves from a train in Pyongyang, North Korea, before leaving for Russia on Sunday.
Pictured: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (center) receiving a red carpet send-off as he departs by train from Pyongyang to visit Russia on Sunday. He arrived in Russia on Tuesday.
It is understood that Kim will be accompanied by unspecified members of the country’s ruling party, government and military. Pictured: Kim Jong Un leaves Pyongyang, North Korea, on Sunday to visit Russia.
North Korea has possibly tens of millions of artillery shells and rockets based on Soviet designs that could potentially give the Russian military a big boost, analysts say. Pictured: Ukrainian military fires an M109 self-propelled howitzer at Russian troops in Ukraine’s Donetsk region on Monday.
A green train with yellow trim, similar to one used by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on his previous trips, is seen from an observation platform in Fangchuan in northeast China’s Jilin province on Monday.
Kim has been steadfast in his support for Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, including, according to Washington, the provision of rockets and missiles.
But both Moscow and Pyongyang have denied that North Korea has supplied or will supply weapons to Russia, which has consumed its vast ammunition reserves in fighting since it launched its attack on Ukraine early last year.
Kim has not traveled outside North Korea since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. His last trip abroad was in 2019, also to Russia to meet with Putin.
“North Korea has the raw ammunition Putin needs for his illegal war in Ukraine, while Moscow has submarine, ballistic and satellite technologies that could help Pyongyang overcome the engineering challenges it suffers under economic sanctions,” Leif said. Eric Easley, professor at Ewha University in Seoul.
On Monday, the United States described Putin as desperate to seek a meeting with Kim.
“Having to travel across his own country to meet with an international pariah and ask for help in a war he hoped to win in the first month, I would characterize him as asking for help,” said State Department spokesman Matthew Miller. saying.
“I will remind both countries that any arms transfer from North Korea to Russia would violate multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions,” he added.
Washington has said Russia could use North Korean weapons to attack Ukraine’s winter food supplies and heating infrastructure to “try to conquer territory that belongs to another sovereign nation.”
Andrei Lankov, a North Korea expert at Seoul’s Kookmin University, told AFP that a Putin-Kim summit was part of Moscow’s “gentle diplomatic blackmail” of Seoul, because Russia did not want South Korea to supply weapons to Kiev. .
Seoul is a major arms exporter and has sold tanks to kyiv’s ally Poland, but long-standing domestic policy prevents it from selling weapons in active conflicts.
“The main concern of the Russian government now is a possible shipment of South Korean munitions to Ukraine, not just one shipment but many shipments,” Lankov said.