Kim Jong-un’s train is approaching Russiawhere he is expected to meet between Tuesday and Wednesday Vladimir Putin and with him to talk among other things about the supply of ammunition to Moscow, hungry for weapons to continue the conflict in Ukraine. Putting together all the rumors filtered through the international media, these should be the times and scenario of the conversation between the North Korean and Russian leaders, which worries the West and its allies Japan and South Korea for the development of military cooperation between Pyongyang and Moscow.
The Kremlin instead claims that it considers it its “duty” to build “good, mutually beneficial relations with North Korea, as well as with other neighbors”. Kim and Putin, said spokesman Dmitry Peskov, will meet “in the next few days” for talks and a formal dinner in Kim’s honor. The KCNA agency confirmed the mission, without adding anything else, in particular regarding the timing. But a high-level South Korean government official, who wished to remain anonymous, told Reuters that the train on which Kim always travels abroad left Pyongyang heading north yesterday. -east, towards the border with Russia, beyond which lies Vladivostok, the main Russian city in the Far East. A journey of 700 kilometers which evidently takes place very slowly on the legendary convoy whose carriages are said to be armored and equipped with rooms for meetings with collaborators. Putin arrived in Vladivostok today to participate in the annual Eastern Economic Forum.
The meeting between the two leaders could take place as early as tomorrow on the sidelines of this event, the South Korean official revealed. But the agenda could undergo last-minute changes and the meeting could be postponed to Wednesday. The same route was taken by Kim for his first face-to-face meeting with Putin, in April 2019. And before him for their visits to Russia and the Soviet Union by his father and grandfather, Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung. In fact, North Korea has historical ties with Russia and was one of the few countries to show support for Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine. Furthermore, it is not lost on observers that this is Kim Jong-un’s first visit abroad after the Covid pandemic. An event for which he chose Russia rather than his number one ally, China. The White House last week raised the alarm over the possible sale of North Korean arms to Russia. In particular, Pyongyang is believed to have vast reserves of ammunition compatible with Russian artillery pieces. The New York Times, citing US administration sources, wrote that Putin would try to obtain Kim’s help to replenish his stocks of artillery shells and anti-tank rockets in exchange for the provision of financial and food aid to Pyongyang, but also advanced technologies for satellites and for the development of nuclear-powered submarines. US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan warned that North Korea “will pay a price if it supplies weapons to Russia.”
As for Moscow, Putin’s meeting with Kim is “a mistake, a gesture of desperation”, said US Vice President Kamala Harris in an interview with CBS. Comments that do not seem to be able to slow down the development of “closer collaboration” between Russia and North Korea “on all fronts” that Putin recently said he wanted to pursue. Russia, echoed spokesman Peskov, “will continue to develop relations” with North Korea “without taking into account the opinions of other countries”.