Russia’s Putin is set to make a rare visit to North Korea amid an intensifying alliance against the West

Kremlin Press Office/Manual/Anatolu Agency/Getty Images/File

Russian President Vladimir Putin greets North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ahead of a tour of the Vostochny Cosmodrome space launch center in Russia’s Amur region in September 2023.



CNN

Vladimir Putin is scheduled to travel North Korea for a two-day visit starting on Tuesday, the Kremlin said Russian It was the president’s first visit to the country in more than two decades — and the latest sign Deep conditioning This has raised widespread international concern.

It was a rare foreign trip for Putin from the full extent of Russia Invasion of Ukraine It’s a pivotal moment for North Korean President Kim Jong Un, who has yet to host another world leader in Pyongyang – one of the world’s most politically isolated capitals since the Covid-19 pandemic, which began in 2022.

The closely watched visit is expected to further cement the growing partnership between the two powers, founded on their shared hostility to the West and driven by Putin’s need for support in his ongoing war on Ukraine.

Following his visit to North Korea, Putin will travel to Hanoi on Wednesday for another two-day trip that could put the United States on the map of communist-ruled Vietnam’s relations with Russia.

America, South Korea and other countries are accusing North Korea Provides substantial military assistance Observers have raised concerns that Russia’s war effort in recent months could defy international sanctions and aid Pyongyang’s development. New military satellite program. Both countries have denied North Korea’s arms exports.

Putin’s trip is a reflection of Kim’s Last SeptemberThe North Korean leader traveled to Russia’s Far East in his armored train, a visit that included a warplane-making factory and a rocket-launching facility.

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Kim hailed the future of the countries’ “meaningful relations and close friendship” in a message to Putin last week to commemorate Russia’s National Day on June 12.

“Our people give full support and solidarity to the successful work of the Russian military and people,” Kim said, according to the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper.

The Kremlin has said Russia hopes to build a partnership with North Korea “in all possible areas,” according to Russian state media.

Days after the Group of Seven (G7) summit of advanced economies attended by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Western leaders reiterated their continued support for Ukraine. $50 billion in debt For a war-torn country.

It also follows Kiev’s support International Peace Conference Over the weekend, more than 100 countries and organizations attended, supporting Zelensky’s vision for peace, which calls for the complete withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukrainian territory.

Putin rejected those efforts a day before the meeting, offering his own peace conditions, including the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the four partially occupied territories and Kyiv withdrawing its bid to join NATO, considered a non-starter by Ukraine and its allies.

Putin’s visit to North Korea is widely seen as an opportunity to bolster Kim’s support for his war — a goal that may become increasingly urgent as long-standing U.S. military aid to Ukraine comes online.

Last month, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told US lawmakers that North Korean weapons and missiles and Iranian drones had allowed Russian forces to “stand up again”.

Between August and February, Pyongyang sent about 6,700 containers to Russia, which could accommodate more than 3 million 152 mm artillery shells or more than 500,000 rounds of 122 mm multiple rocket launchers, South Korea’s defense ministry said earlier this year.

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Both Moscow and Pyongyang have denied such arms transfers, and last month a senior North Korean official called such allegations a “ridiculous contradiction”.

Asked about concerns that Russia is considering transferring sensitive technologies to Pyongyang in exchange for those goods, a Kremlin spokesman said last week that the countries’ “potential for developing bilateral relations” was “profound” and “shouldn’t cause anyone concern.” No one can and should not challenge.

When Putin visited North Korea in 2000, he met with Kim’s predecessor and late father, Kim Jong Il.

His trip comes now as the Russian leader appears eager to reassert himself on the world stage, shedding an isolated image following widespread condemnation of his invasion of Ukraine, drawing in like-minded allies.

Putin did one last month Official visit to BeijingThere he and Chinese President Xi Jinping reaffirmed their shared opposition to the US-led world order.

Moscow last week hosted foreign ministers from countries including China, Iran, South Africa and Brazil for a meeting of the major developing economies of the BRICS group.

Putin’s move to strengthen North Korean ties is a boon for Kim, who has been dogged by years of international sanctions over his illegal nuclear weapons program.

It coincides with a period of international concern about the North Korean leader’s intentions, as he has reined in belligerent language and scrapped a longstanding policy of peaceful reunification with South Korea.

A visit by a leader of a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council would provide a signal to Kim’s domestic audience about his global influence — and an opportunity to secure much-needed economic and technical support from Moscow.

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Russia has previously supported international sanctions and UN-backed investigations into North Korea’s illegal weapons program, including tests of long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles that could theoretically reach the US mainland.

But Russia’s growing reliance on North Korea and growing friction with the West appear to have changed that dynamic. March, Moscow He vetoed the UN resolution Renew independent monitoring of North Korea’s violations of Security Council sanctions.

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