On Tuesday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in Russia for a highly anticipated meeting with President Vladimir Putin. The United States has expressed concerns that this meeting may result in an arms deal that could support Moscow’s actions in Ukraine. This trip marked a rare foreign excursion for Kim, his first since the onset of the pandemic. In a solemn manner, Kim waved from the entrance of his heavily fortified private train as it departed from Pyongyang on Sunday evening, as depicted in images released by North Korean state media.
Kim and Putin are scheduled to convene later this week in an undisclosed location within Russia’s Far East region, as confirmed by Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov. Currently, Putin is attending the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, the city in the Far East nearest to the North Korean border. However, it remains unclear whether the two isolated leaders will hold their talks there.
Experts speculate that Moscow is likely to seek artillery shells and anti-tank missiles from North Korea, while North Korea is interested in obtaining advanced satellite and nuclear-powered submarine technology in exchange.
The White House issued a warning last week, cautioning North Korea about potential consequences if it supplies weaponry to Russia for the conflict in Ukraine.
Despite these warnings, Kim departed North Korea for Russia on Sunday, as reported by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). He was accompanied by high-ranking North Korean military officials, including those responsible for weapons production and space technology.
Peskov disclosed that the two leaders would collaborate on sensitive matters not meant for public disclosure or announcement.
KCNA released images depicting Kim’s “warm send-off,” complete with a red carpet and an honor guard at Pyongyang station at approximately 18:38 (0938 GMT).
On Tuesday, the Russian state news agency Ria Novosti reported that Kim had crossed the border, and images showed his train, with dark green carriages, being pulled along the tracks by a Russian Railways locomotive.