Fears Of Arms Deal As North Korea’s Kim Jong Un Meets With Putin   

Fears Of Arms Deal As North Korea's Kim Jong Un Meets With Putin   

Talks have officially begun between North Korea’s Kim Jong-un and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, with Putin saying the summit would cover “all issues”.

The two men began their meeting at a tour at Russia’s remote Vostochny Cosmodrome, a satellite launch facility, on Wednesday, suggesting that Mr Kim could be seeking Russian help to develop North Korea’s military satellite technology.

Western officials fear the meeting may lead to an arms deal where Pyongyang supplies ammunition to Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.

The meeting came hours after North Korea fired two ballistic missiles toward the sea in its latest provocation toward South Korea. South Korean officials didn’t immediately say how far the North Korean missiles flew.

Asked whether Russia will help North Korea build satellites, Putin was quoted by Russian state media as saying: “That’s why we have come here. The DPRK [North Korean] leader shows a keen interest in rocket technology. They’re trying to develop space, too.”

Asked about military cooperation, Putin added: “We will talk about all issues without a rush. There is time.”

Putin welcomed Kim’s limousine, brought from Pyongyang in the North Korean leader’s special armoured train, at the entrance to the launch facility with a handshake that lasted around 40 seconds.

The Russian leader said he was “very glad to see” the North Korean dictator, while Mr. Kim’s translator thanked Putin for the warm welcome, “despite being busy.”

For Russia, the meeting could lead to increased ammunition for its eighteen-month war against Ukraine.

North Korea may have tens of millions of aging artillery shells and rockets based on Soviet designs that could give a huge boost to the Russian army in Ukraine, analysts say.

The North Korean delegation included Jo Chun Ryong, a ruling party official in charge of munitions policies.

Mr Kim said his decision to visit Russia four years after his previous visit showed how Pyongyang is “prioritizing the strategic importance” of its relations with Moscow, North Korean state media said.

Alongside military technology, he could also seek economic aid for his regime. An arms deal would violate international sanctions that Russia supported in the past.

The US has previously accused North Korea of providing Russia with arms, including selling artillery shells to the Russian mercenary group Wagner, which it denies.

Speculation about their military cooperation grew after the Russian defense minister visited North Korea in July, touring a weapons factory.

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