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Kim Jong Un in Russia: The North Korean leader tours military sites

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Kim Jong Un in Russia: The North Korean leader tours military sites

SEOUL – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits aviation factories and inspects Russia’s Pacific Fleet on Thursday, maintaining his focus on military issues on his third day in the Russian Far East.

After a day of warm words and toasts on Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin accepted Kim’s invitation to pay a reciprocal visit to North Korea “in the future,” North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency reported Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will visit Pyongyang for further talks next month.

The two men, shunned internationally, showed a show of support and camaraderie this week in an apparent rejection of US-led efforts to isolate Putin over his invasion of Ukraine and Kim over his pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

On Wednesday, Putin received Kim at the Vostochny Spaceport, where they held nearly five hours of talks and had dinner. They likely discussed North Korean arms sales to Russia and food aid to North Korea.

The Kremlin said Kim will travel on Thursday to the city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur to visit military and civilian aviation factories. The Japanese Kyodo News Agency, citing unnamed sources, said that the factory that Kim is expected to visit is a Sukhoi fighter aircraft factory.

The North Korean leader is then scheduled to travel to Vladivostok to inspect the Pacific Fleet.

Kim’s visits to space, aviation and military facilities in Russia indicate potential areas of cooperation between Pyongyang and Moscow following the two leaders’ meeting.

The Kremlin said that cooperation between Russia and North Korea on “sensitive” issues should not be made public.

Kim pledges support for Putin’s “sacred struggle” during rare summit

Kim and Putin pledged to work together “to thwart the military threat and military provocations of the imperialists,” among other shared political, economic and military goals, KCNA said.

Kim pledged to draw up a “long-term plan for DPRK-Russia relations in the new era,” the state news agency said, using an abbreviation for North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

She added that he invited Putin to visit North Korea “at an appropriate time.” He added, “Putin gladly accepted the invitation and reiterated his desire to always move forward with the history and traditions of friendship between Russia and the DPRK.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that Putin is not scheduled to visit North Korea.

Wednesday’s meeting between Kim and Putin comes months after US intelligence assessed that Russia was looking to acquire weapons from North Korea to replenish its dwindling supplies for the war in Ukraine, while Pyongyang seeks to boost its beleaguered economy and persuade Moscow to share advanced technology on its behalf. Its space and nuclear programs.

North Korea is believed to have a large stockpile of older artillery shells and missiles that would be compatible with Soviet and Russian weapons systems used in Ukraine, as well as production capacity that would help Russia maintain a high munitions burn rate as the Kremlin seeks it. Expanding the scope of local production.

Russia used up to 11 million projectiles in Ukraine last year, according to recent Western estimates, and is set to launch another 7 million this year, said Jack Watling, a senior research fellow in ground warfare at the Royal United Services Institute, a British think tank. .

A potential arms deal would violate UN sanctions that Russia has previously supported as a member state and permanent member of the UN Security Council.

Neither Pyongyang nor Moscow mentioned any discussions about arms supplies at the summit, although Washington continues to accuse the two leaders of seeking such an agreement.

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said Wednesday that it was “troubling” to see Kim pledge full support for Russia and its security interests. “We have reason to believe they would have discussed military transfers – this is extremely troubling and likely in violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions.”

He said that the Biden administration “will not hesitate” to impose additional sanctions due to arms transfers between North Korea and Russia.

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