North Korea's Kim wraps up Russia visit, heads home

North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un and Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu inspect honor guards on the arrival at a military airfield in Vladivostok, Russian Far East.

Russian media say North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is on his way back home after concluding a trip to Russia’s Far East.

Russian state news agency RIA says a farewell ceremony was held for Kim on Sunday.

Since entering Russia aboard his armoured train last Tuesday, Kim has met President Vladimir Putin and visited key military and technology sites, triggering outside concerns about an arms alliance between the two isolated nations.

North Korean state media highlighted the predominant focus of Kim’s trip, describing his discussions with Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu to expand “strategic and tactical coordination” between their countries’ militaries, as Western concerns grow about an arms alliance that could possibly fuel the Russia's war on Ukraine.

Kim’s trip, highlighted by a summit with Putin on Wednesday, has underscored how their interests are aligning in the face of separate, intensifying confrontations with the West.

US and South Korean officials have said North Korea could provide badly needed munitions for Moscow’s war on Ukraine in exchange for sophisticated Russian weapons technology that would advance Kim’s nuclear ambitions.

Inspecting Russian weapons

All the Russian warplanes shown to Kim were among the types that have seen active use in the conflict in Ukraine, including the Tu-160, Tu-95 and Tu-22 bombers that have regularly launched cruise missiles.

Shoigu, who had met Kim during a rare visit to North Korea in July, also showed Kim another of Russia's latest missiles, the hypersonic Kinzhal, carried by the MiG-31 fighter jet, that saw its first combat during the war in Ukraine.

Kim and Shoigu later on Saturday travelled to Vladivostok, where they inspected the Admiral Shaposhnikov frigate. Russia’s navy commander, Adm. Nikolai Yevmenov, briefed Kim on the ship’s capabilities and weapons, which include long-range Kalibr cruise missiles that Russian warships have regularly fired at targets in Ukraine.

KCNA, which reported Kim’s activities in Russia a day late while crafting the details to meet government propaganda purposes, said Kim was accompanied on Saturday’s visits by his top military officials, including his defence minister and the top commanders of his air force and navy.

Following a luncheon, Kim and Shoigu talked about the regional security environment and exchanged views on “practical issues arising in further strengthening the strategic and tactical coordination, cooperation and mutual exchange between the armed forces of the two countries,” KCNA said.

In their July meeting, Kim gave Shoigu a similar inspection of North Korean weapons systems before inviting him to a massive parade in the capital, Pyongyang, where he rolled out his most powerful intercontinental ballistic missiles designed to target the United States.

Kim’s visits to military and technology sites this week possibly hint at what he wants from Russia, perhaps in exchange for supplying munitions to refill Putin’s declining reserves as his invasion of Ukraine becomes a drawn-out war of attrition.


Source: TRT