Published 13/09/2023 14:06 | Edited 09/15/2023 11:18
In a tense geopolitical scenario, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin held a historic meeting in Russia that lasted around five hours. This meeting took place in the context of the war in Ukraine, in which Moscow is involved, and the persistence of sanctions imposed by the West on Russia and North Korea.
The location chosen for this meeting was the Vostochny Cosmodrome, Russia’s most important satellite launch center, where not only space issues were discussed, but also the possibility of arms agreements. This meeting is notable not only for the content of the conversations, but also for the rarity of the meeting itself. Kim Jong Un rarely travels outside his country, and the two leaders have not met since 2019.
The alignment of Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin amid the current global situation signals a commitment to multipolarity and the search for strategic partnerships that go beyond pressure from the West. North Korea, like Russia, faces stringent economic and political sanctions imposed by the West. This alliance can be seen as a joint response to the isolation imposed by the West.
This meeting not only strengthens ties between Russia and North Korea, but also highlights these leaders’ determination to maintain strategic partnerships amid international pressure. In a multipolar and constantly evolving world, these alliances can have a significant impact on global dynamics and the search for international stability.
Here are key highlights from the meeting and what leaders said publicly:
Repercussions in the West
As negotiations between Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin continue to make headlines, the West is closely watching these developments. The United Kingdom, through its spokesman Rishi Sunak, urged North Korea to end negotiations on arms sales to Russia. Sunak said Kim’s visit and talks highlight Russia’s isolation on the global stage, especially as the world unites against Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Kremlin called the talks “important and substantial,” focusing on cooperation in the areas of aviation and transport. Meanwhile, China is seen as a key player when it comes to possible arms deals between Russia and North Korea, given its influence as North Korea’s trading partner and political patron.
Finally, despite concerns and speculation about arms deals, relations between Russia and North Korea appear to be strengthening, challenging the global world order. The development of these negotiations and their impact on the international scene continue to be topics of global interest, with the West closely watching the next stages of this unusual alliance.
China’s position: Experts highlight that China plays a fundamental role in possible arms cooperation between Russia and North Korea, given its strategic relationship with both countries. China is North Korea’s largest trading partner and main political patron. Any arms deal would be an “alliance of convenience,” and China will have considerable influence over the outcome.
Arms deal speculation: Putin responded to speculation about Russia obtaining supplies from North Korea, saying they would discuss “all issues.” While Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov suggested that the West violated contractual agreements by sending Soviet-era weapons to Ukraine, Kim Jong Un has not spoken out openly about a possible arms deal.
The White House has already warned that North Korea would “pay a price” if it supplied weapons to Russia for use in the conflict in Ukraine. These negotiations worry Washington and its allies, as defense cooperation is seen as a priority at the meeting, especially after Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu’s visit to North Korea in July.
Support for Russia’s “fair fight”: Kim has expressed support for Russia’s “fair fight,” which is seen as a reference to the war in Ukraine. He affirmed his commitment to stand with Russia on the “anti-imperialist front” and in the fight for independence.
“Russia is currently engaged in a fair fight against hegemonic forces to defend its sovereign rights, security and interests. I take this opportunity to affirm that we will always stand by Russia on the anti-imperialist front and on the independence front.”
Kindnesses and promises: The leaders exchanged compliments and friendly words, highlighting the importance of the meeting. Putin emphasized economic and humanitarian cooperation, while Kim Jong Un expressed gratitude for the Russian welcome and mentioned the deep friendship between the two countries.
Space and technology: In addition to defense and geopolitical issues, the meeting also addressed cooperation in space. The meeting took place at a space center, where Kim Jong Un praised Russia as a “space superpower”. The Korean paid homage to Russian history as the “first conquerors of space”. Putin highlighted North Korean interest in rocket engineering and cooperation in the field of aviation and transportation.