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Dive into the clandestine world of international diplomacy as North Korea’s Kim Jong Un meets Russia’s Putin. Uncover their surprising deals, secrets, and potential global impact in this eye-opening report.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is reportedly considering a trip to Russia for a summit with President Vladimir Putin, signalling increased cooperation between the two leaders as they navigate separate confrontations with the United States. The potential summit would mark Kim’s first meeting with a foreign leader since North Korea closed its borders in January 2020, following his unsuccessful nuclear diplomacy with former U.S. President Donald Trump.
U.S. officials have revealed that Russia is exploring the possibility of purchasing ammunition from North Korea to replenish its depleted reserves due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. In return, North Korea is expected to seek food and energy supplies as well as transfers of advanced weapons technology.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu’s visit to Pyongyang in July included discussions about ammunition shipments from North Korea to Russia, with the possibility of joint military exercises being considered for the first time. The extent of military cooperation between Kim and Putin remains uncertain, but any indication of warming relations is likely to raise concerns among rivals like the United States and South Korea. Russia aims to quash a Ukrainian counteroffensive and prolong the conflict, while North Korea continues its rapid pace of missile testing in protest of U.S. efforts to strengthen military alliances with South Korea and Japan.
U.S. officials suspect that North Korea has been supplying Russia with artillery shells, rockets, and other ammunition, many of which are likely reproductions of Soviet-era munitions. This potential arms trade would violate U.N. resolutions, supported by Russia, that prohibit all arms transactions with North Korea. However, facing international sanctions and export controls due to the Ukraine conflict, Russia has sought weapons from other sanctioned countries like North Korea and Iran.
North Korea possesses significant ammunition stockpiles, but the limited capacity of the land route between the two countries may hinder rapid shipments to Russia.
Kim Jong Un’s priorities for the potential summit with Putin include securing aid shipments, boosting his prestige on the international stage, and obtaining military technology. Border closures during the pandemic have caused severe economic challenges in North Korea, making the supply of food and energy crucial to address shortages.
Kim is also likely to use expanding relations with Moscow as a means of demonstrating that North Korea is overcoming its isolation. North Korean leaders have historically valued face-to-face meetings with world leaders for both international recognition and domestic propaganda purposes.
Furthermore, Kim may seek Russian technology to support his plans for advanced weapons systems, including long-range missiles, hypersonic ballistic weapons, nuclear-powered submarines, and a spy satellite.
Russian Defense Minister Shoigu mentioned the possibility of bilateral military exercises between Russia and North Korea, and there were discussions about a potential trilateral training exercise involving China. This would mark North Korea’s first joint military drills with a foreign country since the Korean War ended in 1953. North Korea has adhered to a policy of “juche,” or self-reliance, and has avoided military cooperation with foreign nations.
While some experts suggest that increased security cooperation between South Korea, the United States, and Japan could encourage North Korea to hold joint drills with Russia and China, others believe North Korea may resist such an offer, as it could further depend on China and Russia.
Ultimately, the outcome of Kim’s diplomacy with Russia remains uncertain, but both countries aim to demonstrate their cooperation and send messages to the United States through their actions.