For days, there was some anticipation for the meeting between the leaders of North Korea and Russia. Finally, on Wednesday, it took place at a space center. Both countries are collaborating on ‘sensitive subjects,’ as stated by Russia.
Putin arrived first at the Vostochny space center. Later, the special armored train of the North Korean dictator arrived. Russian media shared images of the meeting at the launch site in the southeast of the country, near the border with China. Kim Jong-un thanked Putin for the invitation ‘despite his busy schedule.’ Putin, in turn, said he was ‘happy to see him.’
Russia needs more artillery munitions
According to the United States, Putin and Kim Jong-un will discuss arms deliveries. Russia is urgently in need of ammunition for its war in Ukraine. North Korea, on the other hand, is looking to acquire Russian defense technology, which could include satellites and nuclear submarines. The US has already warned North Korea about arms deliveries to Russia.
The North Korean and Russian leaders will ‘talk about all issues,’ Putin said when asked if military-technical cooperation would be on the agenda, according to the Russian news agency RIA. “We will slowly discuss all topics. There is time,” said the Russian president.
The Russian government did not disclose what the leaders will discuss. A Kremlin spokesman said the countries are cooperating on ‘sensitive issues’ that cannot be publicly shared. However, he did reveal that Kim will make a ‘full-fledged visit’ and that ‘negotiations’ will be held.
When asked if Russia would help Pyongyang build satellites, Putin said, “That’s why we came to Vostochny. The leader of North Korea is showing great interest in rocket technology,” he said.
“Russia has embarked on a holy struggle to protect its sovereignty and security from hegemonic forces,” Kim Jong-un told the Russian president through an interpreter. “We will always support the decisions of President Putin and the Russian leadership and join forces to fight imperialism.”
Lunch: Russian wines and Kamchatka crab
After their meeting, the leaders sat down to have lunch together. The menu included duck and fig salad, dumplings with Kamchatka crab, fish soup, sturgeon, and beef. For dessert, they were offered red taiga (coniferous forest) blueberries with pine nuts and condensed milk. They paired all of this with various Russian white and red wines from the South Russian winery Divnomorskoe, according to a Kremlin reporter.
It was unclear where the meeting would take place. The Americans assumed Kim Jong-un would travel to Vladivostok, in the far east of Russia, where an annual economic forum is held. However, the first meeting in years between the two leaders took place at the site of the new Vostochny cosmodrome (rocket launch site). According to the Russian state news agency Tass, political talks are scheduled later in the day.
Kim rarely leaves North Korea. This is the first time he has traveled abroad since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The last time Kim ventured beyond his country’s borders was in 2019 when he visited Vladivostok for a meeting with Putin.
North Korea fired two ballistic missiles shortly before the meeting with Putin, according to the South Korean military. The Japanese coast guard also reported two ballistic missiles being launched. These missiles were of short range.