Korean Central Television reported on the 14th that North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un, who is visiting Russia, had a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the 13th. yunhap news
North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un’s five-night, six-day visit to Russia has ended. There were several symbolic scenes that clearly illustrate the meaning of this visit and meeting.
Meeting held at Vostochny Cosmodrome
The meeting between Chairman Kim and Russian President Putin was held at the Vostochny Cosmodrome, which Russia is proud of. President Putin, known in the international community as a “latecomer,” arrived 30 minutes earlier and greeted Chairman Kim. The space base for the meeting and President Putin’s surprising protocol were enough to inform the world of North Korea’s close ties with Russia.
When asked whether he would help North Korea develop satellites, President Putin bluntly said, “That’s why we came here.”
Kim Jong-un touches a strategic bomber
After the Vostochny meeting, the focus was on inspecting strategic weapons. Kim Jong-un visited the Yuri Gagarin Factory, which manufactures advanced fighter aircraft, and at the Knevich Military Airfield, he personally touched a MiG equipped with the hypersonic missile ‘Kinzal’, and also raised his head and looked closely at the part where nuclear warheads are mounted under the wing of a strategic bomber. It created a look.
There was a reaction to this scene that said it seemed like they had seen it somewhere before. The composition was identical to the photo taken by U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin when he guided then-Secretary of Defense Lee Jong-seop, who was attending the National Security Council, to Andrews Air Force Base in November of last year and revealed the nuclear warhead loading portion of the strategic bombers B-52 and B-1B.
Defense Minister Shoigu told Chairman Kim at this meeting that the strategic bomber “could fly from Moscow to Japan and back again.”
The gifts Kim Jong-un received were guns, space gloves, and drones.
Kim Jong-un received a gift from Russia as a traditional winter hat. yunhap news
The gift that Kim Jong-un and Putin exchanged was a ‘gun’. President Putin presented Chairman Kim with a top-of-the-line Russian carbine as well as space suit gloves worn by Russian astronauts, and Chairman Kim also handed President Putin a carbine said to have been made by North Korea’s best craftsmen. Chairman Kim also received gifts from the governor of Russia’s Primorsky Krai, including five suicide drones, one reconnaissance drone, special suits that cannot be detected by thermal imaging cameras, and body armor.
These symbolic scenes seem to well explain the ‘transition to strategic cooperation’ declared by the two leaders at the meeting. North Korea’s Rodong Sinmun evaluated that Chairman Kim had opened “a new transitional phase in the history of strengthening and developing relations between North Korea and North Korea” on the 18th when he returned home. North Korea also said that “a new heyday is opening” in bilateral relations.
In response to North Korea’s self-assessment, the government said, “Since Russia does not have much to look forward to in the long term other than obtaining artillery shells needed for the war in Ukraine from North Korea, Russia’s support of cutting-edge military technology to North Korea will inevitably have certain limits.” A line was drawn.
However, there are many counterarguments to the view that the relationship between the two countries will be limited to a short-term relationship centered on interests such as arms trade and economic cooperation.
Kim Jong-un and Putin shake hands before the North Korea-Russia summit. yunhap news
This relationship will not end in the short term because both North Korea and Russia have a common understanding that they must counter the hostile policies and hegemony of the United States, that is, because the strategic interests of both countries are at stake.
Former Russian Ambassador Wi Sang-rak said, “In the past, Korea and Russia had a strategic cooperative relationship, but this has now become empty, and an era of strategic cooperation between North Korea and Russia has begun.” “This will continue to deepen, and cooperation between Korea, the United States, and Japan will also continue, so the energy generated here will deepen the North Korea-Russia cooperation relationship and is likely to continue in the long term for many years to come,” he predicted.
In particular, Ambassador Wi Wi-rak said, “Russia also opposes and discourages North Korea from possessing nuclear weapons, but in a situation where it is strategically at odds with the United States, it has no choice but to deepen North Korea-Russia relations.” He added, “With such complicated equations, North Korea’s nuclear armament has come to this point. Therefore, when looking at the relationship between the two countries, the context of small and important factors must be viewed comprehensively,” he pointed out.
China’s future trends are expected to be an important factor in completing this close relationship between North Korea and Russia.
This meeting itself can be seen as containing not only the cooperation between the two countries, but also the intention to strengthen the North Korea-China-Russia cooperation structure by pressuring China’s participation and solidarity.
Accordingly, a fierce diplomatic battle is expected in the future to strengthen the trilateral solidarity between North Korea, China, and Russia or, conversely, to keep it in check.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who met with U.S. White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan in Malta for two days starting on the 16th, plans to visit Russia for four days starting on the 18th and hold talks with Foreign Minister Lavrov.
It is known that the meeting between Director Wang Yi and Advisor Sullivan discussed plans for the U.S.-China summit in November, and the meeting between Director Wang Yi and Foreign Minister Lavrov also included President Putin’s visit to China, known to be in October, and the subsequent China-Russia summit with President Xi Jinping. The meeting schedule is expected to be discussed.
It is highly likely that President Putin’s promised visit to North Korea will also be determined within the schedule of the China-Russia summit and the U.S.-China summit. Since Chairman Kim Jong-un has already met with President Putin, it seems likely that he will make a surprise visit to China and hold a meeting with President Xi Jinping.
Wang Seon-taek, director of the Global Center at the Hankyung Policy Research Institute, said, “A fierce diplomatic battle is expected in October and November with the China-Russia summit, North Korea-China summit, North Korea-Russia summit, and U.S.-China summit being held in succession.” He added, “Through this diplomatic battle, the agreement reached this time is expected. “The level of North Korea-Russia cooperation and the level of trilateral solidarity between North Korea, China and Russia will also be visibly revealed,” he predicted.