Putin will soon travel to North Korea, according to official media

As the conflict rages in Ukraine and military tensions rise in East Asia, North Korean state media announced on Sunday that Russian President Vladimir Putin intends to meet Kim Jong Un shortly. This is the latest indication of the two totalitarian leaders’ growing cooperation. Putin promised to visit Pyongyang “at an early date” and expressed gratitude to Kim for the invitation, according to a report from the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). The dates of Putin’s travel to North Korea are still being worked out diplomatically, according to Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, and will be revealed later, according to Russian state-run news agency TASS.

 

According to TASS, North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Putin last Tuesday in Moscow to talk about matters pertaining to the Korean Peninsula, Northeast Asia, and global peace and security. According to KCNA, the two parties declared at that meeting that they were “strongly willing to further strengthen strategic and tactical cooperation in defending the core interests of the two countries.” Putin’s journey to Pyongyang would be a retaliation for Kim’s trip there in September, when the North Korean leader visited a rocket-launch facility and a fighter-jet factory in the far east of Russia while traveling in an armored train.

 

Putin said that he would be willing to help North Korea advance its satellite and space programs while Kim hailed Russia for opposing “hegemonic forces” in the war in Ukraine. There are indications that North Korea and Russia are working together more now in Ukraine. Russia has fired missiles built in North Korea twice in the last month against targets in Ukraine, according to the US Defense Department. Additionally, Pyongyang has reportedly given Moscow over a million artillery shells that might be used in an invasion of Ukraine, according to South Korean intelligence.

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