SEOUL, South Korea ― North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is preparing for a visit to Russia to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, as announced by Russia’s presidency office on Monday.
During the meeting, Putin and Kim are expected to discuss the issue of North Korean supplies to assist Russia in its ongoing assault on Ukraine. This visit is taking place at a time when South Korea, a U.S. ally, is establishing closer ties with Washington.
North Korea’s state news agency KCNA also reportedly confirmed the visit.
While the exact date of Kim’s one-on-one meeting with Putin has not been disclosed by the Russian presidency’s office, Associated Press journalists near Russia’s border with North Korea have claimed to have seen a train similar to the one previously used by Kim for his trips abroad moving back and forth between a bridge connecting the two countries.
Last week, The New York Times reported that the two leaders are planning to hold talks, potentially in Vladivostok later this month. Moscow seeks weapons for its war in Ukraine, while North Korea is interested in advanced satellite technology and food.
This will be Kim’s first international trip since 2019, when he visited Vladivostok to meet with the Russian president after nuclear talks between the U.S. and North Korea broke down.
The upcoming visit of Kim to Russia has already raised concerns within the Biden administration. Vice President Kamala Harris cautioned against a partnership between Putin and Kim, calling it a “huge mistake.”
In an interview broadcast on Sunday, Harris told CBS’s “Face the Nation,” “I also believe very strongly that for both Russia and North Korea, this will further isolate them.”
National security adviser Jake Sullivan warned last week that Pyongyang would face consequences in the international community if it decides to supply weapons to Russia for use in the Ukrainian battlefield.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu recently visited North Korea in an effort to persuade Kim to sell artillery ammunition. The White House confirmed that a delegation of Russian officials also traveled to Pyongyang for further discussions.
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