SEOUL: In a Significant Meeting at the remote Siberian Rocket Launch Center, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pledged unwavering support to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Summit, which lasted approximately four hours, raised concerns in the international community, particularly from the United States, that it might result in a potential weapons supply agreement for Moscow's involvement in the Ukraine conflict.
The Rendezvous between the leaders of Russia and North Korea underscores their shared interests, despite their isolation from Western countries. Notably, Putin seeks stockpiles of outdated ammunition and rockets compatible with Soviet-era weaponry, a resource that North Korea possesses in abundance.
This Appeal marks a departure from their roles in the 1950-53 Korean War when Moscow provided military aid to support Pyongyang's invasion of South Korea. Kim's choice of meeting place, the Vostochny Cosmodrome, Russia's paramount launch site, signals his desire for Russian assistance in developing military reconnaissance satellites, a capability he deems essential to bolster the threat posed by his nuclear-capable missiles. In recent months, North Korea has made unsuccessful attempts to launch its first military spy satellite into orbit.
Kim arrived at the launch center in his armored train, transporting his limousine from Pyongyang. Putin warmly welcomed him, and the two leaders engaged in a lengthy handshake lasting approximately 40 seconds. During their talks, Putin touched upon the Soviet Union's historical support for North Korea and indicated that discussions would encompass economic cooperation, humanitarian matters, and the geopolitical landscape of the region.
Indirectly alluding to the conflict in Ukraine, Kim affirmed his continued support for Moscow, stating, "Russia is currently engaged in a just struggle against occupying forces to protect its sovereign rights, security, and interests. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea has consistently expressed its full and unconditional support for all steps taken by the Russian government. I reiterate on this occasion that we will always stand with Russia against imperialism and for freedom."
In response, Putin expressed Russia's interest in assisting North Korea with rocket technology and satellite development, stating, "That's why we're here. The leaders of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) have a keen interest in rocket technology and are endeavoring to make advancements in this field."
Regarding potential military cooperation, Putin emphasized a thorough and deliberate approach, stating, "We will discuss all issues without any haste. There is ample time."
For Putin, this meeting with Kim presents an opportunity to replenish dwindling ammunition stocks after 18 months of conflict in Ukraine. Meanwhile, for Kim, it represents a chance to evade UN sanctions and overcome years of diplomatic isolation.
Notably, South Korea's foreign ministry spokesman, Lim Soo-suk, revealed that Seoul is closely monitoring Kim's visit while maintaining communication with Moscow. Analysts speculate that North Korea possesses a vast arsenal of antiquated artillery and rockets based on Soviet designs, potentially affording Russian forces a substantial advantage in Ukraine.