Putin Arrives In North Korea For First Visit In 24 Years, Expected To Meet Kim Jong Un

Putin’s visit reciprocates Kim Jong Un’s trip to Russia last September, where the North Korean leader visited a factory producing fighter jets and a rocket-launch facility in Russia’s far eastern region. (ANI)

Russian President Vladimir Putin landed in North Korea on Wednesday morning (local time), marking his first official visit to the East Asian nation in 24 years. His arrival is set to culminate in talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, CNN reported.

This visit is a significant international engagement for Putin since the onset of the Ukraine conflict in 2022, and represents a pivotal moment for Kim, who has refrained from hosting any foreign leaders since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

The trip follows an invitation extended by North Korea’s supreme leader Kim Jong Un to Putin in September 2023. Putin’s last visit to Pyongyang was in July 2000, underscoring the deepening ties between Moscow and Pyongyang, with implications for Russia’s military actions in Ukraine, according to CNN.

During a press conference on Monday, Putin’s aide Yuri Ushakov outlined the visit’s packed agenda, highlighting plans for both leaders to sign a new strategic partnership agreement. Ushakov stressed that the agreement is not intended to provoke other nations, but rather to enhance stability in northeast Asia. It will supersede earlier agreements signed between Moscow and Pyongyang in 1961, 2000, and 2001.

The streets of Pyongyang were festooned with Russian flags and posters of Vladimir Putin in anticipation of his early Wednesday morning arrival, marking a landmark return after more than two decades.

Putin’s visit is closely watched globally and is expected to further cement the growing partnership between Russia and North Korea, underpinned by their mutual antagonism towards the West and Moscow’s military needs for its operations in Ukraine.

After North Korea, Putin is slated to travel to Hanoi, emphasizing Vietnam’s close ties with Russia and potentially straining relations with the United States.

Regarding the visit, US national security spokesman John Kirby stated on Monday that the Biden administration was monitoring developments closely, expressing concerns over the deepening ties between Russia and North Korea.

The United States, along with South Korea and other nations, has accused North Korea of providing substantial military support to Russia amid its ongoing conflict in Ukraine. There are concerns that Moscow’s engagement with Pyongyang could violate international sanctions, particularly in relation to North Korea’s military satellite program. Both countries have denied allegations of illicit arms transfers.

Putin’s visit reciprocates Kim Jong Un’s trip to Russia last September, where the North Korean leader visited a factory producing fighter jets and a rocket-launch facility in Russia’s far eastern region. (ANI)