North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been aboard his personal train, probably since Sunday evening, according to South Korean intelligence. He heads towards the Russian Far East, where the two countries have a common border, near Vladivostok. Kim Jong-un will be on an “official visit” to Russia “in the coming days,” the Kremlin confirmed on Monday, which has not yet announced a precise date for a meeting with Vladimir Putin.
Rumors have been rife for a week about Kim Jong-un’s visit to Russia. The Russian president and his North Korean counterpart advocated increased cooperation in mid-August on Tuesday, particularly in the field of defense, a new illustration of the rapprochement between these two enemies of the United States since the start of the Kremlin offensive in Ukraine.
The Kremlin press release confines itself to saying that Kim Jong-un’s visit is “at the invitation of the Russian president.” Vladimir Putin arrived in Vladivostok on Monday to participate in an annual economic forum on Tuesday. According to Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, no meeting between the two leaders is planned within the forum itself. South Korean television channel YTN reported that Seoul “expects President Kim to meet with President Putin of Russia around the day after tomorrow,” that is, Wednesday.
Weapons against advanced weapons technologies
The White House said last week that Kim Jong-un wanted to meet with Vladimir Putin to discuss arms sales to Moscow as part of his offensive in Ukraine. Washington warned that North Korea would pay “the price within the international community.”
In return, Kim could receive much-needed energy and food aid as well as advanced weapons technologies, including those for intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear-capable submarines and military reconnaissance satellites, according to analysts cited by Der Spiegel.