North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has arrived in Russia, Japanese media reported, after traveling from Pyongyang in his private train for a rare summit with President Vladimir Putin in Vladivostok.
A train carrying Kim had arrived at Khasan Station, the main rail gateway to the Russian Far East from North Korea, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported Tuesday, citing an unnamed Russian official source. Kim and Putin will meet in the afternoon, Kyodo added.
Kim’s trip to Russia and his meeting with Putin will be a large-scale visit, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a video posted online, and comes amid concerns in the West over the planned Pyongyang to supply weapons to Moscow for use in the war against Ukraine. The meeting is expected to take place in the Russian port city of Vladivostok, where Putin has already arrived.
According to Peskov, the main theme of the negotiations will be relations between neighboring countries. “We will continue to strengthen our friendship,” he said.
Kim was accompanied by senior government officials, including military personnel, North Korea’s KCNA said. Earlier, the news agency released photos of his departure from Pyongyang, showing military honor guards and crowds of people in dark suits and colorful dresses waving flowers and flags as Kim boarded of its dark green train, which would be armored and carried other specialized equipment. .
The trip marks Kim’s first overseas visit in more than four years and the first since the Covid-19 pandemic.
On Monday, the U.S. State Department described Putin as desperate over the conflict in Ukraine and reiterated its warnings that any arms deal could trigger U.S. sanctions.
“Having to travel across his own country to meet an international pariah and ask him for help in a war he hoped to win in the first month, I would say it’s like he’s begging for help ” said State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller. said.
“I will remind both countries that any transfer of weapons from North Korea to Russia would violate several UN Security Council resolutions,” he added.
The White House said last week it had intelligence showing Russia was seeking to purchase additional artillery shells from North Korea to bolster its defense industrial base.
North Korea has previously been accused by the United States of selling artillery shells to the Russian mercenary group Wagner.
Kim and Putin, who first met in 2019, are seeking greater military and economic cooperation to counter their growing international isolation caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its ballistic missile and missile programs. North Korea’s nuclear weapons.
In July, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visited Pyongyang, where he visited a defense exhibition showcasing ballistic missiles banned in the country.
Analysts say North Korea has a large stockpile of artillery shells, rockets and small arms ammunition that could help Russia replenish the military stockpiles it has spent over more than 18 years. months of war in Ukraine. In exchange, Moscow could share its advanced satellite and nuclear-powered submarine technology.