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Kim Jong Un & Vladimir Putin meet in Russia as Pyongyang launch rockets

Kim Jong Un & Vladimir Putin meet in Russia as Pyongyang launch rockets

Kim Jong Un & Vladimir Putin meet in Russia as Pyongyang launch rockets

Kim Jong Un & Vladimir Putin meet in Russia as Pyongyang launch rockets

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  • Kim Jong Un & Vladimir Putin meet in Russia as Pyongyang launches rockets.
  • Kim expressed gratitude to Putin for the invitation and the warm reception.
  • Kim might provide weapons and ammunition to Russia.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that he and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would discuss Pyongyang’s satellite program and other matters during their meeting at a cosmodrome in Russia’s Far East.

When questioned about whether they would discuss obtaining supplies from North Korea to replenish Moscow’s diminishing stock of weapons and ammunition, Putin mentioned that they would address “all issues.” Washington and its allies believe that defense cooperation is a top priority for the meeting.

“I am glad to see you,” Putin remarked while shaking Kim’s hand, welcoming him to the Vostochny Cosmodrome, a modern space launch facility in Russia’s Far East. “This is our new cosmodrome.”

Kim, speaking through an interpreter, expressed gratitude to Putin for the invitation and the warm reception.

The summit between the leaders of the two countries, both of which have become increasingly isolated internationally, is being closely monitored by Washington and its allies, who suspect they may agree to trade arms and defense technology.

U.S. and South Korean officials have expressed concerns that Kim might provide weapons and ammunition to Russia, which has depleted vast stocks during more than 18 months of conflict in Ukraine. Both Moscow and Pyongyang have denied such intentions.

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The decision to meet at the Vostochny Cosmodrome, a symbol of Russia’s aspirations as a space power, is noteworthy, as North Korea has twice failed to launch reconnaissance satellites in the past four months.

“That’s why we came here,” Putin remarked when asked if Russia would assist Kim in building satellites. “The leader of the DPRK shows great interest in rocket engineering; they are also trying to develop space.”

Kim has made it a top priority to launch a spy satellite as he pushes his nuclear-armed country to accelerate the development of ballistic missiles, drones, and attack submarines.

Kim and Putin are seen shaking hands and grinning broadly, standing outdoors, surrounded by security personnel and Russian media representatives, before walking together into a gleaming glass-walled building.

Television footage showed Putin giving Kim a tour of the facility. Russian state television stated that Kim posed numerous detailed questions to Putin.

Russian media reported that Putin showed Kim around the building where Russia’s new space launch rocket, the Angara, is assembled. The 42.7-meter booster launches payloads into low Earth orbit.

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Hours before the anticipated summit, North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles from an area near the capital, Pyongyang, into the sea off its east coast, according to South Korea’s military and the Japanese government.

It was the first such launch by North Korea while Kim was abroad, according to analysts. Kim has traveled outside the country only seven times during his 12 years in power, all in 2018 and 2019, and he briefly crossed the inter-Korean border twice.

When asked if the leaders would discuss weapons, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated that the two countries collaborate in “sensitive” areas, which would not be disclosed publicly, according to Interfax news agency.

On Tuesday, Peskov stated that Kim’s visit would be “fully fledged” and that the two sides would conduct “negotiations.” Russian officials have indicated that humanitarian aid to North Korea and U.N. Security Council resolutions imposed on Pyongyang may also be on the agenda.

Russia’s foreign ministry emphasized the importance of the talks in light of geopolitical shifts in the world.

“Bilateral contacts are very important. And the situation on the Korean Peninsula is, of course, of utmost importance for security and stability in the region,” said ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, as reported by state news agency RIA.

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Kim arrived in Russia by private train on Tuesday with top defense industry and military aides, stating that his visit underscored the “strategic importance” of the two countries’ ties, according to North Korea’s state news agency KCNA.

The composition of Kim’s delegation, which included Munitions Industry Department Director Jo Chun Ryong, suggested an agenda heavily focused on defense industry cooperation, according to analysts.

Kim may offer artillery rounds from North Korea’s large stockpile, which could replenish Russia’s capabilities in the short term. However, concerns about the quality of the ammunition may limit the overall impact, according to military analysts.

Both South Korea and the United States have cautioned that such a deal would violate U.N. Security Council resolutions, which Russia, as a permanent council member, voted to approve.

North Korea is one of the few countries that has openly supported Russia in the Ukraine conflict, and Putin pledged last week to “expand bilateral ties in all respects in a planned way by pooling efforts.”

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