Vladimir Putin receives lavish welcome in North Korea as Kim Jong Un vows closer ties

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Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un signed a strategic partnership aimed at strengthening trade and military ties between Russia and North Korea, and pledged to work closely together in the face of international sanctions.

The Russian president said Moscow could develop “military-technical cooperation” under the agreement and called on the United Nations to end the sanctions regime against Russia. North Korea.

“These illegal actions are only aimed at weakening the world economic and political system,” Putin said. “We will continue to oppose the use of suffocating sanctions as a tool used by the West to maintain its hegemony.”

Putin thanked Mr. Kim for the North Korean leader’s support war in Ukraine as he received a lavish welcome on his first visit to the isolated communist country in more than two decades.

Choreographed crowds cheered, waved balloons and danced to patriotic Soviet songs to welcome Putin and Kim in Pyongyang’s central square, which was covered with giant side-by-side portraits of two leaders.

The pomp and circumstance amid what Putin called a groundbreaking new deal underscored how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and mutual hostility with the United States have brought the two countries closer together.

Putin said the new partnership includes a mutual assistance clause that will apply in case of “aggressive” behavior against one of the signatories.

Although Putin did not provide details on what the treaty entails, he compared it to NATO’s provision of long-range weapons and F-16 fighter jets that Ukraine is using to attack its territory. Russia – implies that Russia will expand military relations with North Korea in response. .

Mr. Putin said earlier this month that Moscow was considering supplying long-range weapons to “regions of the world where strikes against sensitive targets” among Ukraine’s Western allies could be possible without specify details.

Western officials say North Korea’s help for Russia’s war in Ukraine includes providing ammunition to replace Russia’s dwindling ammunition stocks.

The two leaders exchanged gifts, including a Russian-made Aurus limousine for Kim and what the Kremlin said were “rather artistic” depictions of Putin, including “several statues.” bust”.

Kim praised Russia“an important role and mission in maintaining stability and strategic balance in the world” and committed to strengthening strategic cooperation.

Their meeting lasted about two hours, then Mr. Kim visited the Russian Far East in September, when he and Putin toured Russia’s most advanced space rocket launch site.

Putin said he hoped Mr. Kim would make a return visit to Moscow.

US and South Korean officials believe that economic exchanges and arms transfers between Russia and North Korea have expanded significantly since last year’s meeting.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday that Russia is trying its best to strengthen relationships with countries that can supply the country with weapons.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who was with Blinken in Washington, told reporters he was concerned about the possibility of Russia supporting North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.

Seoul Defense Minister Shin Won-sik told Bloomberg that Russia offered technological assistance for North Korea’s spy satellites in exchange for North Korea agreeing to provide nearly 5 million artillery shells.

China, North Korea’s main economic backer in recent years, is also said to be wary of the deepening relationship between Putin and Kim. Their meeting came a day after China and South Korea held their first high-level security meeting in Seoul in nine years and agreed to strengthen ties in a “more mature, healthier direction.”

Experts say Russia’s provision of food and military technology will make it more difficult to entice Pyongyang to participate in denuclearization talks while North Korea transfers more weapons to Russia will make Ukraine need more weapons from its allies.

In March, Russia block the renewal of a United Nations assembly monitor compliance with Security Council sanctions against North Korea, leading to the dissolution of that body.

“Returning to negotiations with North Korea faces a really uphill battle,” said Jenny Town, a senior fellow at the Stimson Center think tank.

Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, said there is more at stake than the deepening relationship between Russia and North Korea.

“The integrity of the international order is in question with respect to the defense of Ukraine and the implementation of United Nations Security Council resolutions,” he said. “Moscow’s transfer of sensitive military technologies to Pyongyang would not only violate United Nations sanctions but could also destabilize the Korean peninsula and East Asia.”


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