Kim Jong Un expressed his unwavering support for Russian President Vladimir Putin during their extensive four-hour meeting. The discussions encompassed a wide range of topics, including military affairs, humanitarian aid, the conflict in Ukraine, and the possibility of Russian assistance for North Korea’s satellite program at the Vostochny Cosmodrome, a crucial launch site within Russia.
In recent months, North Korea has faced setbacks in its attempts to place its first military intelligence satellite into orbit. Concerns have been raised by the United States and South Korea regarding Russia potentially seeking to acquire aging ammunition and rockets from North Korea, which were provided during the Korean War, in exchange for assistance.
Mr. Putin, in his opening remarks, outlined the meeting’s agenda, which included economic cooperation, humanitarian concerns, and regional matters. In response, Mr. Kim pledged ongoing support for Russia, particularly in the context of the Ukrainian conflict.
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Mr. Kim stated, “Russia is currently engaged in a just struggle against hegemonic forces to protect its sovereign rights, security, and interests.” He reaffirmed North Korea’s steadfast support for all actions taken by the Russian government, emphasizing their commitment to stand alongside Russia in the fight against imperialism and for independence.
Analysts suggest that North Korea possesses a substantial stockpile of aging artillery shells and rockets based on Soviet designs, which could potentially bolster the Russian military in Ukraine. However, any arms trade or provision of rocket technology to North Korea would run afoul of international sanctions that Russia has previously supported.
James Nixey, the director of the Russia and Eurasia program at Chatham House, a think tank in London, noted that Russia’s primary focus presently is on achieving success in Ukraine and that it may be seeking immediate support from North Korea to meet its industrial needs in the short term.
This meeting took place amidst reports of a Ukrainian attack on a shipyard in Crimea, resulting in 24 injuries and a fire. Furthermore, Russian offensives in various cities and villages in the Donetsk region led to casualties and injuries across Ukraine, underscoring the ongoing tensions and violence in the region.