Kim’s Arrival in Russia: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has arrived in Russia for a highly anticipated meeting with President Vladimir Putin. This rare encounter has raised concerns in the West about potential discussions on arms deals for Russia’s involvement in the Ukraine conflict.
Travel Details: Kim started his journey by boarding his personal train in the capital city, Pyongyang, accompanied by members of North Korea’s ruling party, government officials, and military personnel.
Crossing into Russia: The South Korean Defence Ministry confirmed that Kim’s train crossed into Russia on Tuesday, although they did not disclose how they obtained this information.
Warm Welcome: North Korean state media released images of Kim receiving a warm welcome as he walked past honor guards and cheering crowds in Russia. He also waved from his green-and-yellow armored train before it departed from the station.
Key Members in Kim’s Delegation: Kim’s delegation includes his foreign minister, Choe Sun Hui, as well as top military officials like Korean People’s Army Marshals Ri Pyong Chol and Pak Jong Chon.
Meeting Invitation: Putin extended the invitation for this meeting, which is taking place “in the coming days.” Although the exact time and location of the meeting have not been specified, it is expected to focus on strengthening bilateral ties.
Possible Venue: One potential location for the meeting is the eastern Russian city of Vladivostok, where Putin arrived earlier for an international forum. Vladivostok was also the site of their first meeting in 2019.
Kim’s First Foreign Trip Since Pandemic: This visit marks Kim’s first foreign trip since the COVID-19 pandemic. Kim, who has shown a preference for using his personal train for international meetings, is now resuming diplomatic engagements.
Military Speculation: US officials have expressed concerns about potential arms discussions between North Korea and Russia. They believe Putin may seek more supplies of North Korean artillery and ammunition to support his objectives in Ukraine.
International Concerns: The US has urged both North Korea and Russia to abide by UN Security Council resolutions and refrain from arms transfers. Any such transfer could increase tensions and impact the ongoing Ukraine conflict.
Growing Relations: Russia and North Korea have been growing closer since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022. Kim aims to strengthen partnerships with traditional allies like Moscow and Beijing to counterbalance diplomatic isolation.
Symbolic Meeting: Some experts believe that a meeting between Kim and Putin would have more symbolic significance than substantial military cooperation. Russia may be cautious about sharing critical military technology.
This meeting carries global significance and will be closely monitored by international observers as the situation unfolds.