Kim Jong-un and Putin’s Summit Raises Global Security Concerns


North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, on Wednesday, pledged his full support to Russian President Vladimir Putin as the two isolated leaders held a rare summit meeting at Russia’s rocket launch facility. The meeting comes amid growing concerns about potential weapon deals between Pyongyang and Moscow. While proposing a toast during a dinner banquet after the meeting, Kim assured Putin that the Russian military and people would prevail over “evil forces,” clearly endorsing Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Kim expressed his belief that Russia would achieve a significant victory in the “sacred” struggle against “wrongdoing” under the pretense of hegemony. The meeting took place amid concerns that both countries might advance arms negotiations and increase military cooperation.

Through an interpreter, Kim added that he had great confidence that the Russian military and people would demonstrate their invaluable honor in a “special military operation” in Ukraine and build a strong nation. Following the meeting held at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Amur, Russia, Putin conveyed to local news outlets that he saw prospects for military and technical cooperation with North Korea. Putin also announced that Kim would travel to Komsomolsk-on-Amur and Vladivostok in the Russian Far East after the meeting.

Read Also: Kim Jong Un-Putin Meeting: Geopolitical Implications Unveiled

With the participation of delegations, Kim and Putin initiated discussions at the Kosmodrom Vostochny space center after shaking hands and exchanging greetings in their first meeting in over four years, according to Russian news media. Kim told Putin that “Russia is engaged in a sacred struggle against the West,” and added that North Korea would collaborate with Russia in “countering imperialism.” In a clear reference to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Kim stated that he supported “all decisions” made by Putin.

“Relations with Russia are Pyongyang’s top priority,” Kim told Putin at the outset of the talks, emphasizing the significance of the invitation. Putin expressed his hope to discuss economic cooperation, the security situation on the Korean Peninsula, and humanitarian issues, according to Russian news agencies.

Ahead of the talks, Putin took Kim on a tour of the Kosmodrom Vostochny. The Russian news agency stated that Kim and Putin had no plans to sign official documents after their face-to-face meeting, which was followed by discussions in an expanded format. Both leaders were also offered an official dinner, according to the Russian news agency.

The Kremlin, Russia’s presidential palace, previously stated that Putin and Kim would discuss bilateral relations and economic cooperation during the meeting but added that their discussions might involve sensitive issues that would not be disclosed. Speculation has increased that military cooperation may be discussed, as Russia appears to require artillery and ammunition supplies from North Korea for its conflict in Ukraine, while North Korea seeks high-tech weapon technology from Russia. Putin stated that “all issues” would be discussed during their talks when asked by reporters if he planned to discuss military and technical cooperation.

Putin also noted that Kim showed “great interest” in rocket technology, promising to assist the elusive regime in building its own satellite. North Korea made attempts in May and August to place a military spy satellite into orbit but ended in failure.

Read Also: Kim Jong Un to meet Putin in Russia soon, here’s the reason why

After departing from Pyongyang by armored train on Sunday (9/10), the North Korean leader arrived at the rocket launch facility at the start of the day, traveling over a thousand kilometers north to the city of Vladivostok in eastern Russia, where they had previously met in 2019. Photos released by the North Korean government showed Kim accompanied by high-ranking North Korean party and military officials, including military officer Ri Pyong-chol, Pak Jong-chon, and Pak Thae-song, an official responsible for space technology. The arrangement of their entourage and the choice of a Russian space facility as the meeting location have raised speculation that North Korea may agree to supply ammunition and arms to Russia for its conflict in Ukraine. In return, North Korea may seek food aid and weapons technology transfers from Moscow, such as spy satellites and nuclear-powered submarines.

If Kim and Putin also agree to strengthen their military cooperation, including three-way naval exercises with China, it would pose a significant security challenge on the Korean Peninsula and its surroundings. Any weapon deals between Pyongyang and Moscow would be a violation of several United Nations Security Council resolutions that prohibit the trade of any weapons with North Korea.

Russia’s military cooperation with Moscow and its doubling of arms development come amid increased security cooperation between South Korea, the United States, and Japan. Kim had previously stated that his trip to Russia to meet with Putin was a “clear embodiment” of North Korea prioritizing their “strategic interests” in bilateral relations, according to the North Korean Central News Agency.

In a show of strength, North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles towards the East Sea shortly before Kim and Putin’s meeting on Wednesday, according to the South Korean military. North Korea has vowed to launch a third spy satellite in October after two previous attempts failed, and it recently claimed to have launched a tactical nuclear attack submarine.

Share post:

More like this