On Wednesday, at a summit between the two isolated leaders of North Korea and Russia that the United States has warned could result in an agreement to supply weapons for Moscow’s conflict in Ukraine, Kim Jong Un of North Korea pledged his “full and unconditional support” for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The lengthy encounter, which took place at Russia’s spaceport in the Far East, highlights how their interests coincide.
It is thought that Putin is after one of the few items that poor North Korea has in large quantities: old ammo and rockets for Soviet-era weaponry.
Such a request would represent a shift in power from the Korean War of 1950–1953, during which Moscow provided weapons to help Pyongyang’s invasion of South Korea, and from the decades that followed, during which the Soviet Union supported the North.
Kim may be looking to Russia for assistance in creating military spy satellites, which he has regarded as essential to bolstering the threat of his nuclear-capable missiles.
This is suggested by the choice to meet at the Vostochny Cosmodrome, the most significant launch facility on Russian soil.
North Korea has repeatedly failed to launch its first military spy satellite into orbit in recent months.
At the gate to the launch pad, Putin greeted Kim’s limousine, which had been transported from Pyongyang in the North Korean leader’s special armored train, and gave him a handshake that lasted for almost 40 seconds.
Putin discussed the Soviet Union’s support for North Korea during the Korean War in his opening remarks and stated that the discussions will cover economic cooperation, humanitarian concerns, and the “situation in the region.”
In response, Kim promised to continue supporting Moscow while ostensibly alluding to the conflict in Ukraine.