North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is expected to convene a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, as disclosed by a White House official.
The encounter, scheduled to take place in the near future, is anticipated to revolve around ongoing discussions concerning arms sales between the two nations.
United States National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson confirmed these talks, emphasizing the active progression of arms negotiations between Russia and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), commonly known as North Korea. She stated, “As we have warned publicly, arms negotiations between Russia and the DPRK are actively advancing.
We have information that Kim Jong Un expects these discussions to continue, to include leader-level diplomatic engagement in Russia.”
This development follows the recent revelation that Russia was engaging in secret, active negotiations with North Korea to procure various munitions and supplies for its involvement in the Ukraine conflict.
White House national security spokesperson John Kirby alleged that, despite official denials, North Korea had supplied infantry rockets and missiles to Russia the previous year for deployment by the privately controlled Wagner military group.
Watson, speaking on behalf of the United States, urged North Korea to “cease its arms negotiations with Russia and abide by the public commitments that Pyongyang has made to not provide or sell arms to Russia.”
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu’s visit to North Korea in July was a significant precursor to this upcoming meeting, marking the first such visit by a Russian defence minister since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.
In exchange for additional weaponry, North Korea is expected to gain access to technology to enhance its satellite capabilities and nuclear-powered submarines, as reported by The New York Times.
Experts also speculate that Kim may seek food assistance from Russia as part of these negotiations, adding a humanitarian dimension to the discussions.
These developments occur in the context of the United States’ efforts to dissuade countries, including China and North Korea, from supplying arms to Russia, viewing Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine as an attack on Ukraine’s sovereignty.
Officials anticipate that Kim, who rarely ventures beyond his country’s borders, will meet with Putin in the port city of Vladivostok on Russia’s Pacific coast, in close proximity to North Korea. This trip is expected to echo Kim’s previous visit in April 2019, where he engaged in in-person talks with Putin, symbolizing a significant diplomatic engagement between the two leaders.
Earlier on Monday, South Korea’s intelligence agency indicated that Russian military leadership is considering joint naval exercises with North Korea and China, a move resembling those conducted by the United States and its allies.
Shoigu, Russia’s Defence Minister, appeared to confirm these rumors, stating, “Why not? These are our neighbours. There’s an old Russian saying: You don’t choose your neighbours, and it’s better to live with your neighbours in peace and harmony.”
However, Russia’s ambassador to North Korea, Alexander Matsegora, had previously claimed to be unaware of any plans for such collaboration, although he conceded that future exercises would be “appropriate” in light of ongoing U.S.-led military drills in the region.
Tensions in the Korean Peninsula have escalated with North Korea’s increased missile tests, partly in response to joint exercises between the United States, South Korea, and Japan. Kim Jong Un has vowed to “drastically boost” the country’s weapons production as part of its “war preparations.”
In a recent simulation, North Korea reportedly conducted a “tactical nuclear attack,” using long-range missiles with mock atomic warheads, framing it as a warning to its adversaries.
Additionally, North Korea achieved a significant milestone in April with the successful launch of a solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), marking a key advancement in Kim’s five-year arms development plan, initially announced in 2021, with a second launch taking place in July.