Putin Makes First Visit To North Korea In 24 Years

The visit follows an invitation extended by North Korea's supreme leader Kim Jong Un in September 2023.
Putin Makes First Visit To North Korea In 24 Years
Putin Makes First Visit To North Korea In 24 Years

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in North Korea on Wednesday morning, marking his first official visit to the East Asian nation in 24 years, according to CNN.

This visit is notable as it is one of the few overseas trips Putin has made since initiating the invasion of Ukraine in 2022. For Kim Jong Un, who has not hosted another world leader since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, this visit is also significant.

The visit follows an invitation extended by North Korea's supreme leader Kim Jong Un in September 2023. Putin's last visit to Pyongyang was in July 2000, and this trip signifies the strengthening ties between the two countries, with Moscow seeking to source weapons from Pyongyang to support its war in Ukraine.

Yuri Ushakov, Putin's aide, mentioned during a press conference on Monday that the trip would feature a busy agenda, with both leaders planning to sign a new strategic partnership. Ushakov emphasized that the agreement is intended to ensure greater stability in Northeast Asia and is not directed against other countries. The new agreement will replace previous documents signed between Moscow and Pyongyang in 1961, 2000, and 2001.

In preparation for Putin's early Wednesday morning arrival, the streets of Pyongyang were adorned with Russian flags and posters of the Russian President. This visit is expected to be closely monitored globally and is anticipated to further solidify the partnership between Russia and North Korea, founded on their mutual animosity towards the West and driven by Moscow's need for munitions for its conflict in Ukraine.

After his visit to North Korea, Putin is scheduled to travel to Hanoi, showcasing the ties between Communist-governed Vietnam and Russia, a move likely to unsettle the United States.

US national security spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Monday that the Biden administration was not "concerned about the trip" itself but was worried about the deepening relationship between Russia and North Korea. The US, South Korea, and other countries have accused North Korea of providing substantial military aid to Russia's war effort in recent months, while observers are concerned that Moscow may be violating international sanctions to assist Pyongyang's development of its military satellite program. Both countries have denied any arms transfers.

Putin's visit reciprocates Kim Jong Un's trip last September, where the North Korean leader traveled in his armored train to Russia's far eastern region, making stops at a fighter jet factory and a rocket-launch facility.

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