North Korean leader Kim Jong Un plans to go to Russia this month for personal talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin about the possibility of supplying the Kremlin with more weaponry for the war in Ukraine, according to US and NATO officials cited by The New York newspaper. Times (NYT).
Russia is seeking more weaponry for its war in Ukraine, and a North Korean delegation recently traveled to Russia by train to plan Kim Jong Un’s visit this month, officials said.
During his trip abroad – an extremely rare gesture – Kim Jong Un is expected to travel from Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, probably by armored train, to Vladivostok, on the Pacific coast of Russia, where he will meet with Vladimir Putin , officials said. There is also the possibility that the North Korean leader will eventually arrive in Moscow, but this is not certain, writes The New York Times, taken from News.ro.
Putin wants Pyongyang to send Russia artillery shells and anti-tank missiles, and Kim wants Russia to supply North Korea with advanced technology for nuclear-powered satellites and submarines, the officials said, cited by the NYT. Kim is also seeking food aid for his impoverished country.
Where Kim and Putin could be seen
The two could meet on the campus of the Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok, where the Eastern Economic Forum would take place between September 10 and 13. Also, Kim would like to visit Pier 33, where the military ships of the Russian Pacific Fleet are docked, said officials with whom NYT journalists spoke.
Another potential stop for Kim after Vladivostok could be the Vostokinskyi Cosmodrome, a space launch center that was the site of an April 2022 meeting between Putin and Alexander Lukashenko, the leader of Belarus. The center, where the first missile launch took place in 2016, is about 1,500 km north of Vladivostok.
Last Wednesday, the White House, citing declassified information, warned that Putin and Kim had exchanged letters in which they discussed a possible arms deal. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said high-level discussions on military cooperation between the two countries are “actively moving forward.”
American officials refused to provide more details about the status of personal ties between the two leaders, who are considered adversaries of the United States. But the new information about a planned meeting between the two goes far beyond the previous warning. Officials declined to provide details on how the intelligence agencies gathered the information, the NYT reports.
How did this visit come about?
It is known that Sergei Shoigu, the Russian defense minister, traveled to North Korea in July, where he allegedly tried to convince Pyongyang to sell Russia artillery ammunition. Kim then took Shoigu to an exhibition of weapons and military equipment that included ballistic missiles banned by the United Nations. During the meeting, Kim presented Shoigu with options for greater military cooperation and invited Putin to visit North Korea. Shoigu then made a counterproposal, suggesting that the North Korean leader come to Russia.
Following Shoigu’s visit to Pyongyang – the first by a Russian defense minister since the collapse of the USSR in 1991 – in late August, a delegation of 20 North Korean officials, including some overseeing security protocols for Kim Jong Un, came by train from Pyongyang to Vladivostok and then flew to Moscow – an indication that a visit by Kim is perfectly plausible.
The trip of these North Korean officials lasted 10 days, according to Western intelligence services.
Shoigu announces that Russia is discussing the organization of joint military exercises with Pyongyang
On the other hand, Serghei Şoigu announced on Monday that Russia is discussing with North Korea the organization of joint exercises, according to Reuters. “Why not, these are our neighbors. There is an old Russian proverb: you don’t choose your neighbors and it is better to live with your neighbors in peace and harmony,” said Şoigu, quoted by the Interfax news agency.
Asked about the possibility of joint exercises between the two countries, he said that they are “of course” under discussion, the agency said.
Earlier, the South Korean news agency Yonhap quoted sources from the South Korean intelligence services according to which Shoigu proposed to the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that their countries organize a naval exercise alongside China.
On Saturday, Russia’s ambassador to North Korea, Aleksandr Mategora, told the TASS news agency that he was not aware of any plans for Pyongyang to participate in trilateral military exercises with China and Russia, but said that, in his opinion, it would be ” appropriate”, given the US-led exercises in the region.
North Korea has conducted six nuclear tests since 2006 and has tested various missiles in recent years, but rarely holds military exercises with its neighbors.
The United States and its ally, South Korea, organize regular military exercises, which North Korea denounces as preparations for war against it.
Editor : I.C