15.2 C
New York
Friday, September 29, 2023
HomeTravelNorth Korea's Kim pledges full support to Moscow at summit with Putin...

North Korea’s Kim pledges full support to Moscow at summit with Putin in Russia

North Korea’s Kim pledges full support to Moscow at summit with Putin in Russia


SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea’s Kim Jong Un pledged “full and unconditional support” to Russia’s Vladimir Putin on Wednesday as the two leaders isolated by the West held a summit that the United States warned , could lead to a deal to supply munitions to Moscow’s war in Ukraine.

The meeting, which lasted more than four hours at Russia’s Far East spaceport, underscores how the two countries’ interests are aligning: Putin is believed to be after one of the few things impoverished North Korea has in mind. abundance: stocks of old ammunition and rockets for Soviet-era weapons.

- Advertisement -

Such a request would mark a reversal of roles from the 1950-53 Korean War, when Moscow provided weapons to support Pyongyang’s invasion of South Korea, and in the decades that followed, when the Soviet Union sponsored North Korea. .

Reporting on Thursday’s meeting, North Korea’s official Central News Agency said Kim invited Putin to visit North Korea at a “convenient time” and that Putin accepted with “pleasure and reaffirmed his willingness to invariably carry forward ” the story of friendship between nations. .

The decision to meet at the Vostochny cosmodrome, Russia’s most important launch center on its own territory, suggests that Kim is seeking Russian help in developing military reconnaissance satellites. He has previously said that is crucial to increasing the threat from its nuclear-capable missiles, and North Korea has repeatedly failed to launch its first military spy satellite into orbit.

Putin greeted Kim’s limousine, brought from Pyongyang on the North Korean leader’s armored train, at the launch facility, greeting his guest with a handshake that lasted about 40 seconds. Putin spoke of the Soviet Union’s wartime support for North Korea and said the talks would cover economic cooperation, humanitarian issues and the “situation in the region.”

- Advertisement -

Kim, in turn, promised to continue supporting Moscow, making an apparent reference to the war in Ukraine.

“Russia is currently engaged in a just fight against hegemonic forces to defend its sovereign rights, security and interests,” he said.

North Korea may have tens of millions of old artillery shells and rockets based on Soviet designs that could bolster Russian forces in Ukraine, analysts say.

Washington has accused North Korea of ​​providing weapons to Russia, including selling artillery shells to the Russian mercenary group Wagner. Russian and North Korean officials deny such claims.

- Advertisement -

But buying weapons or providing rocket technology to North Korea would violate international sanctions that Russia has previously supported.

It would underline and deepen Russia’s isolation in the 18 months after its invasion of Ukraine led to mounting sanctions that isolated Moscow’s economy from global markets and narrowed the circle of world leaders willing to meet with Putin. Tensions on the Korean Peninsula are also at their highest point in years as the pace of both Kim’s weapons demonstrations and combined U.S. military exercises with South Korea have intensified. There are concerns that the North would seek advanced weapons technologies from Russia that would increase the threat posed by Kim’s military nuclear program in exchange for fueling Putin’s war against Ukraine.

Jeon Ha Gyu, a spokesperson for South Korea’s Defense Ministry, said Seoul was closely monitoring diplomacy between Moscow and Pyongyang and urged Russia to “properly follow” U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Asked whether North Korean weapons shipments to Russia would inspire Seoul to change its policy of limiting its support to Ukraine to non-lethal supplies, Jeon said “there is no change in the government’s stance of not providing lethal weapons” to Kiev.

Moscow’s priority is success in Ukraine, “and it would do almost anything to achieve it,” said James Nixey, director of the Russia and Eurasia program at Chatham House, a London-based think tank.

“Russia may want to prepare for a longer war, but cannot muster the necessary industrial capacity,” he said. In exchange, Pyongyang is likely to get food and missile technology from Moscow, “a relatively easy gift” to the Kremlin, Nixey said.

As the leaders toured a Soyuz-2 rocket launch facility on Wednesday, Kim peppered a Russian space official with questions.

Kim and Putin met with their delegations and then one on one, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. After the talks, there was an official lunch for Kim, Russian state media reported.

Kim has described space reconnaissance capabilities as crucial to increasing the threat from nuclear-capable missiles designed to target the United States and its Asian allies, South Korea and Japan.

After repeated failures, North Korea may want to launch a spy satellite on a Russian space launch vehicle, said Yang Uk, a military expert at South Korea’s Asian Institute for Policy Studies. He said North Korea could also ask Russia to build a more powerful spy satellite than the one it has been trying to launch.

“North Korea may push to participate in the satellite production process, rather than simply purchasing a finished product, to establish a natural transfer of technologies,” Yang said.

Putin told Russian state television that Kim will visit two more cities in the Far East on his own after the summit, flying to Komsomolsk-on-Amur, where he will visit an aircraft plant, and then going to Vladivostok to see the Russian fleet. from Pacific. a university and other facilities.

Russia and North Korea have “many interesting projects” in spheres such as transportation and agriculture, Putin said. Moscow is providing humanitarian aid to its neighbor, but there are also opportunities to “work as equals,” he added.

However, he sidestepped the issue of military cooperation, saying only that Russia complies with sanctions prohibiting Pyongyang’s acquisition of weapons. “There are certain restrictions, Russia complies with all of them. There are things we can talk about, we are discussing, thinking. “Russia is a self-sufficient country, but there are things we can draw attention to, we are discussing them,” he stated.

James O’Brien, head of the US State Department’s Sanctions Coordination Office, said Russia was “scraping the bottom of the barrel for help because it is having trouble sustaining its military.”

An agreement between the countries would violate existing sanctions, O’Brien said, and would cause the United States to try to identify the people and financial mechanisms used to “at least limit their ability to be effective.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said at a news conference that “any form of cooperation by any country with North Korea must respect the sanctions regime imposed by the Security Council.”

Wednesday’s meeting came hours after North Korea fired two ballistic missiles into the sea, extending a series of highly provocative tests from 2022, as Kim used the distraction caused by the war in Ukraine to accelerate his weapons development.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said they landed in waters outside the country’s exclusive economic zones and there were no reports of damage.

Official photos showed Kim accompanied by Pak Thae Song, chairman of North Korea’s space science and technology committee, and Admiral Kim Myong Sik, who are linked with efforts to acquire spy satellites and nuclear-capable ballistic missile submarines.

Kim also brought Jo Chun Ryong, who heads munitions policy, and accompanied him on tours of factories that produce artillery shells and missiles.

South Korea’s Unification Ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs, said it was the first time North Korea launched a missile while Kim was abroad.

Kim could have ordered them to show that he is in control of military activities even when he was outside the country, said Moon Seong Mook of the Seoul-based Korea National Strategy Research Institute.

Asked whether Moscow will help North Korea build satellites, Russian media quoted Putin as saying: “That’s why we came here. The DPRK leader shows great interest in rocket technology. They are also trying to develop space,” using the acronym for North Korea’s formal name. When asked about military cooperation, Putin said: “We will talk about all issues without haste. There’s time.”

Alexander Vorontsov of the Institute of Asian Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences highlighted what he called the “laconic” official presentation of the summit results and was quoted by the Tass news agency as saying that “we can assume that… the “Most of the agreements reached… will remain secret for the moment.”

At their lunch, which reportedly included regional delicacies such as Kamchatka crab dumplings and taiga cranberries with pine nuts, Kim said he and Putin agreed to deepen their “strategic and tactical cooperation.”


Litvinova reported from Tallinn, Estonia. Associated Press journalists Haruka Nuga and Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo; Emma Burrows in London, Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations and Jim Heintz in Tallinn contributed.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -

Most Popular