Kim Jong Un Returns from Russia Trip, Deepens Ties with Putin
SEOUL, South Korea – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has returned home from his trip to Russia, where he reinforced the “comradely fellowship and friendly ties” with President Vladimir Putin. This visit marks Kim’s longest foreign travel as a leader and has sparked speculation regarding potential arms transfer deals between the two countries.
Although no specific steps were disclosed during their discussions, experts believe that North Korea and Russia, both involved in confrontations with the West, may be pushing to exceed the limits set by U.N. Security Council resolutions. Foreign analysts suggest that North Korea could provide ammunition to refill Russia’s depleted inventory in exchange for advanced Russian technologies to modernize their own nuclear weapons arsenals.
During his time in Russia, Kim visited military sites and viewed advanced weapons systems, including nuclear-capable bombers, fighter jets, and hypersonic missiles. He met with Putin at Russia’s primary space launch center and extended “full and unconditional support” to the Russian president.
While some experts argue that such cooperation might lead to severe consequences, with warnings from U.S. and South Korean officials about violating U.N. resolutions, others believe that North Korea may primarily seek economic aid and food assistance from Russia.
Concerned about the potential impact of this military cooperation, South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Chang Ho-jin summoned Russia’s ambassador to Seoul, Andrey Kulik. He urged Moscow to cease its collaboration with North Korea, emphasizing the negative effect it would have on their relations with South Korea.
Kim’s efforts to strengthen his nuclear arsenal align with his claims of intensifying U.S. military threats. By bolstering his military credentials and negotiating from a position of strength, he aims to secure greater concessions from the United States and address the economic hardships exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This article is based on content written by AP writer Kim Tong-hyung.