Kim Jong-un, leader of North Korea, plans to travel to Russia this month to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to The New York Times. During the meeting, Pyongyang will be discussed providing weapons to Russia for the invasion of Ukraine, as well as other forms of military cooperation, the newspaper reported, citing US and allied sources. Although the American newspaper does not provide details of the meeting, it does state that Kim would travel from Pyongyang, probably by armored train, to Vladivostok.
He would not visit Moscow: he would meet with the Russian president in the aforementioned city, located on Russia’s Pacific coast. There, between September 10 and 13, an economic forum is held at the Far Eastern Federal University of Vladivostok, an event that the North Korean leader already attended in April 2019, during his last trip to the country. Kim was also scheduled to visit the dock where Russia’s Pacific Fleet is located.
Ties between Russia and North Korea have been growing closer for some time. A relationship that has been relaunched by the invasion of Ukraine and the international isolation of Pyongyang. Thus, the spokesman for the White House National Security Council, John Kirby, has warned on several occasions of this closeness. If last week, Kirby claimed that Putin and Kim exchanged correspondence; A month ago, the spokesperson detailed that Moscow had asked Pyongyang to supply it with ammunition to maintain its offensive in Ukraine, since the sanctions imposed on Russia by the allies make it difficult, although not impossible, for it to receive weapons.
The request for military support was made, in person, by the Russian Defense Minister, Sergei Shoigu, who was in Pyongyang in July, invited to the celebrations commemorating the 70th anniversary of the armistice of the Korean War (1950-53). , where a delegation from Beijing also attended, led by Li Hongzhong, member of the politburo of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party.
During his visit to North Korea, Shoigu met with Kim – grandson of Kim Jong-il, a communist leader who fought with the support of the Soviet Union and China against a multinational force commanded by the United States – and proposed carrying out some joint naval maneuvers, to which China would also be invited, as reported this Monday by the South Korean news agency Yonhap, citing South Korean intelligence sources. For his part, the Russian ambassador to North Korea, Alexander Matsegora, has declared to the Tass news agency that he had no knowledge of these three-way maneuvers. Despite this, he described them as “appropriate,” Reuters reports.
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South Korean espionage had also warned that Shoigu’s private meeting with Kim sought to intensify military collaboration. The two toured a weapons exhibition and, walking among missiles and chatting about “world trends,” had a “friendly conversation,” according to North Korea’s official news agency. Kim “repeatedly expressed his belief that the Russian army and people would achieve great successes in the struggle to build a powerful country.”
The United States and South Korea actively collaborate and conduct military exercises, which North Korea considers preparations for an attack against it. Thus, on August 18, US President Joe Biden received the Prime Minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida, and the President of South Korea, Yoon Suk Yeol, at Camp David to begin “a new era of trilateral cooperation.” as they declared. Biden has taken advantage of the improvement in complex relations between Seoul and Tokyo to create a common front against North Korea, but also to undermine China’s hegemony in Asia. At that meeting, the three leaders reached agreements on security that have aroused Beijing’s misgivings.
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