2023年11月2日木曜日

NORTH KOREA'S KIM JOJG UN IN RUSSIA AMID UNITED STATES WARNINGS NOT TO SELL ARMS

NORTH KOREA'S KIM JONG UN IN RUSSIA AMID UNITED STATES WARNINGS NOT TO SELL ARMS

@Jackie San


SEOUL/WASHINGTON/MOSCOW – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has arrived in Russia, the Japanese media reported on Tuesday, for what the Kremlin said would be a comprehensive discussion with Russian President Vladimir Putin, amid warnings from Washington that they should not agree on an arms deal.


Mr Kim left Pyongyang for Russia on Sunday on his private train, the North’s state media reported on Tuesday, accompanied by top arms industry and military officials and the Foreign Minister.


A Russian source with knowledge of the trip told Reuters that Mr Kim arrived in Russia on Tuesday morning, leaving his train to meet local officials in Khasan, the main rail gateway to Russia’s Far East, before continuing on.


Mr Kim’s arrival was also reported on Tuesday by Russia’s state television Rossiya 1, which showed a train purported to be carrying the North Korean leader - with its signature olive green paint scheme - crossing a bridge.


Mr Kim does not travel abroad frequently, having made just seven trips away from his country and twice stepping across the inter-Korea border during his 12 years in power so far. Four of those trips were to the North’s main political ally, China.


“It will be a full-fledged visit,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. “There will be negotiations between two delegations, and after that, if necessary, the leaders will continue their communication in a one-on-one format.”


Discussions could include humanitarian aid to North Korea and the UN Security Council resolutions imposed against Pyongyang, Russian officials said.


US officials, who first said the visit was imminent, said that arms talks between Russia and North Korea were actively advancing, and that Mr Kim and Mr Putin are likely to discuss providing Russia with weapons for the war in Ukraine.


Mr Putin arrived in Vladivostok on Monday, Russia’s TASS news agency said. He is scheduled to attend the plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum, which runs until Wednesday.


Mr Peskov said that Mr Putin’s meeting with Mr Kim would come after the forum and that no news conference by the leaders is planned, according to Russia news agencies.


There has been no confirmation of the location of the meeting, or whether Mr Kim will be attending the economic forum.


Mr Kim’s train was headed further north to the Amur region, Japan’s Kyodo news quoted an unnamed Russian official as saying, and it was possible he will hold talks with Mr Putin at the Vostochny cosmodrome there.


Mr Putin said on Tuesday that he was planning to go to Vostochny but did not say if he planned to meet Mr Kim there.


The Russian president, responding to a question at the economic forum, said he had his own programme to visit Vostochny and “when I get there, you will know”.


Pyongyang and Moscow have denied that North Korea would supply arms to Russia, which has expended vast stocks of weapons in more than 18 months of war.


Washington and its allies have been voicing concern at recent signs of closer military cooperation between Russia and the nuclear-armed North. It will be Mr Kim’s second summit with Mr Putin, after they met in 2019 on his last trip abroad.


Mr Peskov said Russia’s national interests would dictate its policies, according to Russian news agencies.


“As you know, while implementing our relations with our neighbours, including North Korea, the interests of our two countries are important to us, and not warnings from Washington,” Mr Peskov was quoted as saying.

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@Jackie San

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