Kim Jong Un pledges his unwavering support for Russia, while Putin commits to providing North Korea with space tech.
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During a summit in South Korea, North Korean President Kim Jong Un pledged his complete backing for Russian President Vladimir Putin in their fight against imperialism, emphasizing that the relations between them are of paramount importance.
Putin proposed that North Korea provide technological support for launching their satellite into space and highlighted the potential for military collaboration between the two nations.
The four-hour meeting in Russia’s Far East on Wednesday demonstrated how geopolitical tensions have brought the two neighbors, who are currently isolated by the West, closer together. The United States has recently warned that Putin and Kim may agree to an arms deal that would supply North Korean munitions for Russia’s war in Ukraine.
The intelligence agency of South Korea is of the opinion that Russia has already discussed with North Korea the potential for three-way naval exercises, which could involve China.
Putin informed the Russia 1 TV network that they can cooperate militarily with North Korea “within the existing rules,” following discussions with Kim and his team.
Kim’s first trip abroad since the outbreak of the pandemic was when he boarded a train bound for North Korea. The two last met in Russia in 2019.
At the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia’s Far East, Kim was briefed by Russian space agency officials while being hosted by Putin.
Putin was quoted by Russian media as saying that Russia’s decision to visit Vostochny was based on the fact that North Korea had not been successful in placing spy satellites into orbit, but it is expected to do so next month.
North Korea showcased advancements in its military capabilities by launching two short-range ballistic missiles shortly before the summit, marking the first time it has done so since Kim’s departure.
During the Wednesday summit, there was no announcement of Russian-North Korea cooperation on missiles. However, both satellites and missile use depend on dual-use rocket technology, and North Korea has been accused of using its space programs as cover for weapons tests, in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions by the U.S. and its allies.
Wi Sung-lac, the former South Korean Ambassador to Russia, claims that Moscow has always been cautious about passing on sensitive military technologies to Pyongyang and is not comfortable with North Korea’s nuclear arsenal.
“Russia’s commitment to nuclear and missile non-proliferation is the reason why they have their discontent,” he asserts. “Nevertheless, they prioritize strategic and geopolitical concerns.”
The U.S. is increasing its military presence and alliances in Asia, which means that Russia’s considerations are increasingly influenced by geopolitics, according to Wi.
According to Hong Min, a North Korea specialist at the Korea Institute for National Unification, Russia will abandon its previous reservations about supporting Pyongyang now that it recognizes if the United States threatens its eastern border.
Hong suggests that Russia will offer technical assistance in phases to meet North Korea’s requirements, including reentry technology for ICBMs and advancement of hypersonic missiles.
The Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, stated to journalists that it was not appropriate to reveal the two neighbors’ cooperation in sensitive areas.
Putin stated that Kim would continue his journey to Russia after their discussions, which would involve visiting Vladivostok, the port city where the Russian navy’s Pacific fleet is based.
This report in Seoul was aided by Se Eun Gong from NPR.