Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un during a visit to the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia in September 2023. Sputnik

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in North Korea for a rare visit that signals the deepening alignment between the two countries and the need for Moscow to buy weapons from Pyongyang. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un personally greeted Putin on the plane ramp upon arrival in the capital, Pyongyang, in the early hours of Wednesday morning local time, as reported by Russian state media TASS.

State media RIA reported that Putin and Kim paused to chat animatedly for several minutes before heading to their respective motorcades. The streets of Pyongyang were decorated with Russian flags and posters of Putin, in a show of welcome for the Russian president, who has not visited the country since 2000. This is also a rare trip abroad for Putin since the start of the war in Ukraine in 2022, and a key moment for Kim, who has not hosted another world leader since the Covid-19 pandemic.

Strengthening the partnership

Putin’s visit will be closely watched around the world and is expected to further cement the growing partnership between Russia and North Korea, founded on shared animosity toward the West and Moscow’s need for ammunition for the war in Ukraine. . After his visit to North Korea, Putin is expected to travel to Hanoi, Vietnam, in a demonstration of the close ties between the two countries, which is likely to anger the United States.

Putin and Kim plan to sign a new strategic partnership, according to Yuri Ushakov, an adviser to Putin. Ushakov said the agreement aims to ensure greater stability in Northeast Asia and is not provocative or directed against other countries. This new agreement will replace documents signed between Moscow and Pyongyang in 1961, 2000 and 2001.

Global implications

US national security spokesman John Kirby stated that the Biden administration is not concerned with the trip itself, but with the deepening of the relationship between the two countries. Without evidence, the U.S., South Korea and others have accused North Korea of ​​providing substantial military aid to Russia, while observers raise concerns about Moscow helping Pyongyang develop its military satellite program.

Putin’s visit comes at a time of heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula. Recently, North Korean soldiers briefly crossed south into the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), prompting South Korea to fire warning shots. Additionally, Kim Jong Un hailed solidarity with Russia in a message to Putin on Russian National Day, June 12. Putin, in an article for the official North Korean newspaper Rodong Sinmun, thanked Pyongyang for its unwavering support for Russia in the war in Ukraine.

Putin’s visit to North Korea, followed by a trip to Vietnam, demonstrates his interest in reestablishing his position on the global stage, countering the image of post-war isolation. Last month, Putin visited Beijing, reinforcing joint opposition with Chinese leader Xi Jinping against the US-led world order. Russia also recently hosted BRICS foreign ministers, highlighting its efforts to strengthen ties with developing economies that make up the bloc.

For Kim, Putin’s visit is an opportunity to showcase his global influence and seek economic and technological support from Moscow. North Korea has faced international sanctions over its nuclear weapons program, but growing dependence on Russia and tensions with the West could change that dynamic.

Putin last visited North Korea in 2000 and his current trip is seen as an offensive to bolster strategic ties and seek support for the war in Ukraine. This move is crucial as long-awaited US military aid to Ukraine is becoming available, increasing Moscow’s urgency to secure additional support from Pyongyang.

Source: vermelho.org.br

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