North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-un may be planning a trip to Russia to engage in arms negotiations with President Vladimir Putin, US officials have claimed.
According to White House National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson, Kim’s plan is to discuss providing arms to Moscow to aid Putin’s war effort in Ukraine, and to help repel the Ukrainian counteroffensive in the south and east of the country.
“Arms negotiations between Russia and the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) are actively advancing,” said Watson, who added: “We have information that Kim Jong-un expects these discussions to continue, to include leader-level diplomatic engagement in Russia.”
The visit, if it took place, would be a rare international trip for the relatively reclusive Kim, who has made a total of just 9 foreign trips to 5 countries since becoming supreme leader of North Korea in 2011 upon the death of his father, Kim Jong-il.
It is believed that Kim will likely travel by armoured train along the North Korean coast later this month to Vladivostok – a coastal city in Russia’s far-east which is close to the North Korean border.
Notably, Kim and Putin previously met here in April of 2019 for a summit about the smaller nation’s nuclear missile program, and armoured train was the means of transport used on that occasion.
According to the New York Times, Putin may be seeking artillery shells and anti-tank weapons from Kim’s regime – weapons and munitions that would seek to have an impact on the Leopard 2 tanks that were donated to Ukraine by NATO member states earlier this year.
— CTV News (@CTVNews) April 20, 2023
The newspaper also claims that Kim may seek Russian technology for his satellite programs and nuclear submarines, as well as food for his starving Communist regime.
🇰🇵 North Korea is starving its own people to death, as tightening border controls cut off vital access to resources and people are executed for flouting the rules to get supplies.
— UN Watch (@UNWatch) June 15, 2023
The claims come after earlier this year, it was reported that Russia was in talks with Chinese companies about purchasing large numbers of combat drones to aid its war effort. According to German magazine Der Spiegel, Russia was deliberating with the Chinese drone manufacturers in February about buying 100 military aircraft – claims which the Chinese companies denied.
— gript (@griptmedia) February 24, 2023
Politico later reported in late July of this year that China had secretly sent significant quantities of non-lethal military equipment, such as bulletproof vests, helmets and body armour, to aid Russia.
China sends enough nonlethal, but militarily useful equipment to Russia to have a material impact on the war in Ukraine, evidence shows.
It also exposes a China-sized loophole in Western sanctions.https://t.co/vQatKlWlbC
— POLITICOEurope (@POLITICOEurope) July 24, 2023