Tags: russia | north korea | kim jong un | vladimir putin | invite | visit

Putin 'Gratefully Accepted' Kim's Invite to North Korea

Thursday, 14 September 2023 07:18 AM EDT

Russian President Vladimir Putin has "gratefully accepted" North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's invitation to visit his country, the Kremlin said Thursday, after the two men held a rare summit in Russia's Far East.

The summit has stoked U.S. concerns a revived Moscow-Pyongyang axis could bolster Russia's military in Ukraine and provide Kim with sensitive missile technology.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Kim's visit to Russia would continue for several days. The Kremlin said Putin has now returned to Moscow from the Far East, where he showed Kim round Russia's most modern space launch facility.

Peskov described the summit between Putin and Kim as "timely, useful and constructive," and that Moscow would continue developing relations with Pyongyang.

He also confirmed Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov would visit North Korea in October.

Since Russia's 2022 invasion of Ukraine, Putin has rarely traveled abroad.

Calling each other "comrades," the two leaders toasted their friendship Wednesday with Russian wine after the 70-year-old Putin showed Kim, 39, around Russia's most modern space launch facility and they held talks alongside their defense ministers.

"At the end of the reception, Kim Jong Un courteously invited Putin to visit the DPRK at a convenient time," KCNA said, referring to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, North Korea's formal name.

"Putin accepted the invitation with pleasure and reaffirmed his will to invariably carry forward the history and tradition of the Russia-DPRK friendship," KCNA said.

For the United States and allies, the burgeoning friendship between Kim and Putin is a concern. Washington has accused North Korea of providing arms to Russia, but it is unclear whether any deliveries have been made.

Both Russia and North Korea have denied those claims, but promised to deepen defense cooperation. During a visit to North Korea in July, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was shown banned ballistic missiles by Kim.

Kim is due Thursday to visit military and civilian aviation factories in the Russian city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur and to inspect Russia's Pacific fleet in Vladivostok, Putin said.

South Korea's National Security Council (NSC) said  Thursday that North Korea and Russia would "pay a price" if they violated U.N. Security Council resolutions.

'Friendship'

Over a sumptuous lunch of Russian "pelmeni" dumplings made with Kamchatka crab, white Amur fish soup and sturgeon, Kim on Wednesday toasted to Putin's health, to the victory of "great Russia" and to Korean-Russian friendship, predicting victory for Moscow in its "sacred fight" with the West.

North Korea was founded in September 1948 with the backing of the Soviet Union, and Moscow supported it for decades during the Cold War, though support dropped off after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

In recent years, China has been seen as the power with the most influence over Kim, but Pyongyang's leaders have often tried to balance ties with both Moscow and Beijing.

After taking over from Boris Yeltsin in 1999, Putin visited Pyongyang in July 2000 for a meeting with Kim Jong Il, the father of Kim Jong Un.

At the summit Wednesday, it was unclear just how far Putin was prepared to go in fulfilling North Korean wish lists for technology.

Amid artillery battles in Ukraine, Russia has ramped up its shell production, but a North Korean supply line could be useful.

North Korea is believed to have a large stockpile of artillery shells and rockets compatible with Soviet-era weapons, as well as a history of producing such ammunition.

Asked whether Russia could simply remove sanctions on North Korea, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia remained a responsible member of the U.N. Security Council.

But Peskov added that Moscow would develop its relations with North Korea in accordance with its own interests.

The U.S. State Department said the Biden administration "won't hesitate" to impose additional sanctions on Russia and North Korea if they conclude any new arms deals.

Russian diplomats said the United States was hypocritical to criticize the summit because Washington had sown chaos and sent weapons to allies across the world.

"The United States has no right to lecture us on how to live," Russia's ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, said in a statement.

© 2024 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


GlobalTalk
Russian President Vladimir Putin has "gratefully accepted" North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's invitation to visit his country, the Kremlin said Thursday, after the two men held a rare summit in Russia's Far East.
russia, north korea, kim jong un, vladimir putin, invite, visit
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2023-18-14
Thursday, 14 September 2023 07:18 AM
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