Putin to visit North Korea for first time in 24 years

Putin to visit North Korea for first time in 24 years

Vladimir Putin will visit North Korea for the first time in 24 years, turning toKim Jong-un as he faces increasing isolation on the world stage over the invasion of Ukraine.

Pyongyang is alleged to provided Russia with millions of vital artillery shells for its war in Ukraine since September, when Putin and Kim Jong-un last met in Russia’s far east.

During that meeting, the North Korean leader had invited Putin to make his first visit to Pyongyang since July 2000. The Kremlin has now announced that the Russian president will take up his offer in a two-day trip starting on Tuesday.

South Korea’s foreign ministry warned that the visit should not result in more military cooperation between Pyongyang and Moscow which violate UN resolutions, after South Korean deputy foreign minister Kim Hong-kyun held an emergency phone call with his US counterpart Kurt Campbell on Friday.

But Moscow said it will develop relations in the manner it chooses and will not be told what to do by any country, least of all the United States.

Russia and North Korea could sign a partnership agreement during the visit, which would include security issues, Russia’s state RIA news agency quoted a Kremlin aide as saying.

“The list of countries willing to welcome Putin is shorter than ever, but for Kim Jong Un, this visit is a victory,” Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Seoul’s Ewha University, told Reuters.

“Not only does the summit upgrade North Korea’s status among countries standing against the US-led international order, it also helps bolster Kim’s domestic legitimacy.”

The two countries could sign a new partnership agreement during the visit, the Kremlin said (Sputnik)
The two countries could sign a new partnership agreement during the visit, the Kremlin said (Sputnik)

Russia has gone out of its way to publicise the renaissance of its relationship with North Korea since the start of the war in Ukraine, causing alarm among the United States and its allies in Europe and Asia.

Washington says North Korea has supplied weapons to Russia to help it fight in Ukraine, though Pyongyang has repeatedly denied this.

The United Nations has imposed a myriad of sanctions since Pyongyang carried out its first nuclear test in 2006, but experts say it has continued the development of nuclear weapons and the production of nuclear fissile materials.

Russia has said that world powers need a new approach to North Korea, accusing the United States and its allies of seeking to “strangle” the reclusive state.

In what was widely viewed as a turning point in the international sanctions regime against North Korea, Russia vetoed the annual renewal of a panel of experts monitoring enforcement of the nuclear sanctions. China – whose relationship with Russia has also intensified in recent years – abstained.

A relationship with Moscow also brings “immediate and tangible results” in terms of economic, military and agricultural cooperation and trade which the two countries have not had since the 1990s, said Jenny Town, of the US-based 38 North programme.

Additional reporting by Reuters