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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Kim Jong-un and Putin to Convene in Russia for Weapons Discussion

According to American and allied sources, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un planned to fly to Russia this month to meet with President Vladimir V. Putin to explore the potential of providing Russia with additional weapons for its conflict in Ukraine and other military cooperation.

North Korean authorities announced that Kim Jong-un will leave the nation for the first time in years to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vladivostok, on the Pacific coast. He would likely take an armoured train.

According to the authorities, both leaders will be present at Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok on September 10-13 for the Eastern Economic Forum. They also claimed Mr. Kim planned to visit Pier 33, where Russian Pacific Fleet navy vessels are berthed. On September 9, North Koreans commemorate their country’s establishment.

The White House issued a warning on Wednesday, citing unclassified information indicating Putin and Kim had written to each other about a prospective weapons trade. According to White House spokesperson John F. Kirby, discussions between the two countries’ top leaders about expanding military cooperation are “actively advancing.” The United States views these two presidents as enemies, thus its officials have reluctant to comment on the personal relationship between them.

There was already a warning about them, but this new information about a meeting they have arranged is far more serious. The United States has not declassified or downgraded the information at issue, and the officials giving their accounts were not authorised to do so. They wouldn’t say how exactly the spies got their hands on the data.

White House officials remained tight-lipped about the fresh intel, but National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said the US was prepared for “leader-level diplomatic engagement” with Russia and the DPRK over the issue of arms sales.

An official has suggested that Mr. Kim may go on from Vladivostok to Vostochny Cosmodrome, a space launch centre where Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko, president of Belarus and a collaborator of Putin’s in the conflict in Ukraine, met in April 2022. About 950 kilometres (600 miles) north of Vladivostok lies the centre, which successfully launched its first rocket in 2016. The person also mentioned Moscow as a potential visit for Mr. Kim.

Officials said that during the meeting, Kim offered Shoigu many possibilities for bolstering military cooperation and invited Putin to visit North Korea. Mr. Shoigu counteroffered by recommending Mr. Kim visit Russia.

According to North Korean official media, a Chinese delegation headed by Li Hongzhong, a member of the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party, also attended the event and presented Kim Jong-un with a letter from Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Mr. Kim writes foreign leaders he deems friends or prospective partners with frequent, loving, and occasionally downright gushing letters. In advance of their historic meetings, he and President Donald J. Trump sent one other many letters.

Mr. Kim took a two-day trip in an armoured train from Pyongyang via China and over the tropical border into Vietnam for the second of these meetings in February of 2019. The elder Kims, Kim Jong-il and Kim Il-sung, both liked to use the train when they went on foreign trips.

In 2019, Mr. Kim arrived in Vladivostok on his armoured green train for his first meeting with Mr. Putin in Russia. To prepare for Mr. Kim’s disembarkation, white-gloved North Korean employees hurried alongside the train as it moved into the station, cleaning off any handholds or other surfaces he could touch.

A bright-eyed Mr. Kim exited the building wearing a long black coat and a black fedora. A brass band and honour guard greeted him as he arrived. The vehicle carrying Mr. Kim around the city was black, and his bodyguards were jogging alongside it.

The United States issued its first warning about North Korea and Russia working together a year ago. Russian officials reportedly intended to purchase artillery ammunition for use in Ukraine, according to unclassified U.S. information.

Mr. Kirby later revealed that North Korea had sent weapons to Russia through the Middle East and North Africa.

However, American authorities said that the leaks had scared North Korea away and that very few North Korean weaponry had reached the front lines in Ukraine.

The Biden administration’s plan to aid Ukraine in its defence against Russia relies heavily on discouraging support for Russia from North Korea, Iran, and China.

U.S. sources said that after being cautioned by Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken in February not to send deadly help, China has still sent dual-use technology and components to the Russian military. However, China has not yet transferred drones or heavy artillery.

Iran has provided drones and is assisting Russia in constructing a drone manufacturing facility. U.S. officials, however, are certain that their warnings have caused Iran to rethink its intentions to provide Russia with ballistic missiles.

Chris Matthews
Chris Matthews
I am a Political News Journalist of The National Era
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