North Korea says Kim Jong Un is back home from Russia, where he deepened ‘comradely’ ties with Putin

North Korea says Kim Jong Un is back home from Russia, where he deepened ‘comradely’ ties with Putin

1 of 6 | 

In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korea leader Kim Jong Un, center, arrives at Pyongyang station, North Korea Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023, after a trip to Russia. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: “KCNA” which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

2 of 6 | 

In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korea leader Kim Jong Un, center left, arrives at Pyongyang station, North Korea Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023, after a trip to Russia. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: “KCNA” which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

3 of 6 | 

In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korea leader Kim Jong Un, front left, arrives at Pyongyang station, North Korea Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023, after a trip to Russia. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: “KCNA” which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

4 of 6 | 

In this photo provided by the North Korean government, a ceremony is held to welcome North Korea leader Kim Jong Un, center on red carpet, as he arrives at Pyongyang station, North Korea Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023, after a trip to Russia. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: “KCNA” which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

5 of 6 | 

In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korea leader Kim Jong Un, second left, meets the officials of the Arnika Bio-Feed Mill at the mill in Vladivostok, Russian Far East Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: “KCNA” which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

6 of 6 | 

In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korea leader Kim Jong Un, center left, prepares to leave for home at a station in Artyom, near Vladivostok, Russian Far East Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: “KCNA” which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

By HYUNG-JIN KIM

 

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has returned home from a trip to Russia where he deepened “comradely fellowship and friendly ties” with President Vladimir Putin, state media reported.

During Kim’s six-day trip to Russia, his longest foreign travel as a leader, the two countries said they discussed boosting their defense ties but didn’t disclose any specific steps. Foreign experts speculate the two countries, both locked in confrontations with the West, were pushing to reach arms transfer deals in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

The official Korean Central News Agency in separate reports said Kim’s train crossed a border river on Monday morning and Kim was greeted by the “ardent” cheers of a huge crowd at a Pyongyang rail station Tuesday evening. Wednesday’s KNCA report said senior North Korean officials congratulated him on advancing relations with Russia.

Before traveling to Russia, Kim made several visits to his munitions factories, triggering speculation that he intended to check on productions of arms to be shipped to Russia.

While traveling through Russia’s far eastern region, Kim met Putin at Russia’s most important space launch center before visiting military sites to see some of Russia’s most advanced weapons systems such as nuclear-capable bombers, fighter jets and hypersonic missiles.

In live comments during their meeting last week, Kim offered “full and unconditional support” to Putin. KCNA later said Kim and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu also met and discussed expanding “strategic and tactical coordination” between the countries’ armed forces.

Many outside experts say Kim would supply ammunition to refill Russia’s drained inventory in the second year of the war in Ukraine in return for receiving Russian technologies to modernize his nuclear weapons arsenals. U.S. and South Korean officials have warned that Russia and North Korea would face consequences if they go ahead with such weapons transfers deals in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Other experts say Kim would end up getting food and economic aid because Russia is reluctant to share its sensitive, high-tech weapons technologies with other countries.

South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Chang Ho-jin on Tuesday summoned the Russian ambassador to Seoul, Andrey Kulik, and urged Moscow to immediately stop its military cooperation with North Korea, which he said would have a “very negative impact” on its relations with the South. Kulik said he would convey Seoul’s concerns to his government, the South Korean ministry said in a statement.

Kim has been pushing hard to bolster his nuclear arsenal citing what he called intensifying U.S. military threats. Analysts say Kim would aim to use his enlarged arsenal to win greater concessions from the U.S. while boosting his military credentials at home in the face of economic hardships deepened over the COVID-19 pandemic.

__

AP writer Kim Tong-hyung contributed to this report.

___

Follow AP’s Asia-Pacific coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/asia-pacific

Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.