North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and held talks aimed at deepening ties between Moscow and Pyongyang. While leaders were tight-lipped on the details of the discussions, cooperation in the military and space area were on the table.
Putin hosted Kim at Russia’s Vostochny Spaceport. When asked if Russia would assist North Korea’s satellite program, Putin responded, “That’s why we came here. The leader of the [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] shows great interest in rocket engineering; they are also trying to develop space.”
Putin met with Kim for five hours including a formal state dinner and a one-on-one discussion. The nature of most of the talks between the leaders is unknown. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov explained, “As neighbors, our countries implement cooperation in sensitive areas that should not become the subject of public disclosure and announcement. But this is quite natural for neighboring states.”
Peskov added that no documents were signed following the meeting.
Prior to Kim’s state visit to Russia, American officials said that Pyongyang was planning to supply Moscow with weapons for the war in Ukraine. State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller threatened to sanction North Korea if it increased military cooperation with Russia.
During the summit, Kim voiced support for Russia’s war in Ukraine. “Now Russia has risen to the sacred fight to protect its sovereignty and security against the hegemonic forces that oppose Russia. And now we want to further develop the relationship,” he said. “We will always support the decisions of President Putin and the Russian leadership … I also hope that we will always be together in the fight against imperialism and for the construction of a sovereign state.”
Both leaders discussed the long-standing relationship between Moscow and Pyongyang. According to TASS, – Russian state media – “Putin recalled “the special time” during which the talks were being held as well as the assistance provided by the Soviet Union to the Koreans in their struggle for independence.”
On the subject, Kim remarked, “As you said, the Soviet Union played a very big role in the liberation of our country, as well as in the independence of our state, and our friendship has deep roots.” He continued, “And now, relations with the Russian Federation are the very first priority for our country. I am sure that our meeting will be the next step to take relations to a new level.”
Moscow and Pyongyang will form “unbreakable relations of strategic cooperation,” Kim continued.