North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has pledged his nation’s support for Russia in its standoff with the U.S. and its allies.
Kim Jong-un is making a rare visit to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin at the space facility in Russia’s Far Eastern Amur Region.
Media reports said:
“Russia has risen for a sacred fight to protect its national sovereignty and safety against hegemonic forces,” Kim said ahead of negotiations on Wednesday. “We will always stand together against imperialism.”
His host, Russian President Vladimir Putin, noted that the Vostochny Cosmodrome was an unusual venue for the meeting.
“We are proud of the development of our space industry, and this facility is new for us. I hope that you and your colleagues are interested in it,” Putin said.
The Korean officials were given a tour of the space launch site.
Negotiations between the Russian and North Korean delegations followed the remarks by Putin and Kim, and lasted approximately an hour, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov later told journalists. The two leaders then had a one-to-one meeting.
North Korean leader was given a tour of the Vostochny Cosmodrome on Wednesday as part of his state visit to Russia.
He was accompanied by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Nikolay Nestechuk, the recently appointed chief of ground infrastructure for the Russian space program, along with Roscosmos chief Yury Borisov and other senior officials from the host nation.
Footage of the visit showed Kim asking questions about the size and maximum engine thrust of the Angara rocket family, which Roscosmos is developing for Vostochny launches.
Nestechuk showed Kim a universal launch pad, which can accommodate a wide range of rockets, from light to super-heavy class. He pointed out that “everything here is Russian, from rocket to the last bolt.”
North Korea has a robust rocket industry, which it is developing in defiance of international sanctions. It has attempted several space launches over the years, which Washington claimed to be ICBM tests in disguise. Pyongyang openly fires military rockets on a regular basis.
Earlier reports said:
Russian President Putin has welcomed North Korean leader Kim to the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia’s Amur Region. A video shared by the Kremlin showed the two leaders shaking hands as they greeted one other on Wednesday.
Putin arrived at Vostochny following a two-day visit to the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok. The North Korean leader traveled to the facility onboard his armored train after crossing into Russian territory on Tuesday morning.
“I am very glad to see you,” Putin told his guest, noting that this year marks North Korea’s 75th founding anniversary and 70 years since the Korean War armistice, as well as 75 years of diplomatic relations with Russia.
Kim thanked Putin for the invitation and a “a very warm welcome,” according to videos of the leaders’ handshake shared by Russian media outlets.
Commenting on the agenda of the Russian-North Korean summit, Kremlin Press Secretary Peskov said the upcoming talks are set to focus on a number of “sensitive issues,” as well as bilateral economic and cultural cooperation, and the overall situation in the region. The Kremlin spokesman said the negotiations would be held both with Russian and North Korean delegations present and in a one-on-one format.
Kim is visiting Russia amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula, which has seen recurring missile launches by Pyongyang as well as military drills involving South Korean and U.S. troops. On Wednesday, just ahead of the meeting with Putin, Seoul accused Pyongyang of yet another missile launch.
A report by The Washington Post said:
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un used his first meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in four years to state that his country views relations with Russia as a “first priority,” and to back Putin’s decisions amid the war in Ukraine.
U.S. officials have said that Kim and Putin, who are meeting Wednesday in Russia’s Far East, will probably discuss a potential arms deal aimed at restocking the arsenal of Russia’s military, which has expended much of its munitions in the war.
An AP report said:
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un traveled to Russia and met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The visit marks a growing alignment of the isolated leaders of the nuclear-armed states.
The leaders are trying to deepen their relationship as each one is locked in confrontation with the United States.
Kim traveled to Russia in a special armored train, following a tradition begun by his predecessors.
Kim Jong Un says he and Russian President Vladimir Putin have agreed to deepen their “strategic and tactical cooperation,” and that he believes Russia will achieve military victory, apparently referring to the war in Ukraine.
Kim spoke after talks with Putin that lasted over four hours.
Referring to the Russian leader as “Comrade Putin,” Kim said the two were working to ensure enduring peace in the world.
He added: “We believe with certainty that the Russian army and people will surely achieve a great victory in the just fight to punish the evil forces pursuing hegemonic and expansionary ambitions, and create a stable environment for national development.”
The Putin-Kim meeting reflects a change in the nature of the relationship between Russia and North Korea, countries which have had a complicated relationship.
During the 1950-53 Korean War, the Soviet Union provided ammunition, warplanes and pilots to support communist North Korea’s invasion of the South, and the decades of Soviet sponsorship of the North that followed.
In what appears to mark a reversal, U.S. officials say Putin may ask for artillery and other ammunition for his war in Ukraine.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has told Russian President Vladimir Putin that his country offers its “full and unconditional support” for Russia’s “fight” to defend its security interests, in an apparent reference to the war in Ukraine, and that Pyongyang will always stand with Moscow on the “anti-imperialist” front.
Kim also called North Korea’s relations with Russia “the first priority.” Putin in his opening remarks welcomed Kim to Russia and said he was glad to see him. Putin listed economic cooperation, humanitarian issues and the “situation in the region” among the agenda items for their talks.
The leaders met at the Vostochny Cosmodrome for a summit that underscores how their interests are aligning in the face of their countries’ separate, intensifying confrontations with the United States.
The U.S. warned that meeting could lead to a deal to supply ammunition for Moscow’s war in Ukraine.
N Korea Fires Two Ballistic Missiles
The AP report said:
South Korea says that North Korea fired two ballistic missiles into the sea off its east coast as leader Kim Jong Un was in Russia for meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
South Korea’s Unification Ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs, said it was the first time the North launched a missile while Kim was on a rare trip overseas.
South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said its nuclear envoy, Kim Gunn, spoke by phone with his U.S. and Japanese counterparts and that they condemned the North Korean launches as a “clear violation of U.N. Security Council resolution and a serious threat to the region’s peace and stability.”
With the summit focused on military cooperation, Kim could have ordered the launches to demonstrate North Korea’s defense posture and show that he remains in close control of the country’s military activities even while abroad, said Moon Seong Mook, an analyst with the Seoul-based Korea Research Institute for National Strategy.
Moon, a retired South Korean brigadier general who participated in past inter-Korean military talks, said the North could have also intended to express its anger toward the United States, after State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a press briefing that Putin was meeting “an international pariah” seeking assistance in a war.
U.S. Officials’ Warning
Another report said:
U.S. officials warned Kim ahead of his state visit not to sell weapons to Russia. Neither Moscow nor Pyongyang has expressed any intention of engaging in such an arrangement.
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu visited North Korea in July, when Pyongyang celebrated the 70th anniversary of its truce with South Korea.
The U.S. was the primary participant in the international force that intervened on the side of Seoul in the 1950s civil war on the Korean Peninsula. The USSR and China supported the opposing side in the conflict.