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Putin to visit North Korea as Ukraine war redefines relationship with Kim Jong-un

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President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia will visit North Korea on Tuesday, his first trip in 24 years, vowing to take ties with Pyongyang to new heights and work together to fight what he calls America’s “global neo-colonial dictatorship.”

The war with Ukraine has brought Putin closer to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who has Open his huge arsenal Go to Moscow.

Nine months ago, Kim Jong-un Arrival by armored train In Russia’s Far East, the two men met at a Russian cosmodrome and toasted their “holy struggle” with the West. During a tour of sensitive Russian rocket and fighter jet facilities, the North Korean leader invited Putin to return the favor.

Now, the Russian president has accepted his offer. The deepening relationship between the two authoritarian leaders poses a particular challenge to Washington. The United States once relied on Moscow’s cooperation to curb North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs. Now it faces threats from a Kremlin intent on undermining U.S. geopolitical interests around the world.

Footage released by Russian state media showed large Russian flags and portraits of a smiling Putin hanging on the streets of Pyongyang as North Korea prepared to welcome the Russian leader.

Before the visit, Putin issued an order approving a new “comprehensive strategic partnership” agreement with North Korea.

He also published an article in North Korea’s main newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, praising Kim for resisting “US economic pressure, provocations, blackmail and military threats” and thanking Pyongyang for its strong support for Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

Victory over Ukraine has been the guiding principle of Russian foreign policy for more than two years, and Putin’s primary priority on this trip is to ensure North Korea’s continued cooperation in helping him achieve his battlefield goals.

North Korea is one of the poorest and most isolated countries in the world, but its military is one of the most powerful in the world.

The exact scope of North Korea’s military assistance to Moscow’s war effort is unclear. Many analysts say the aid is significant because Russian forces need more ammunition in their war of attrition with Kiev. Russian forces have been making recent territorial advances into Ukraine, in part so they can expend more ammunition.

in a Interviewed by Bloomberg Last week, South Korean Defense Minister Shin Won-sik said Seoul had tracked at least 10,000 containers, possibly containing as many as 4.8 million artillery shells, on their way from North Korea to Russia, and the minister predicted Putin would ask for more during his visit.

Before Kim Jong-un visited Russia last year, U.S. intelligence Reported Moscow bought millions of artillery shells from North Korea. The United States has since accused Russia at the United Nations of launching multiple North Korean ballistic missiles into Ukraine.

But the quality of North Korean supplies has also raised questions. I have said Last winter, Russia launched about 50 North Korean ballistic missiles into Ukrainian territory, and the weapons had a high failure rate.

The burgeoning relationship with Moscow has paid dividends for Pyongyang. veto The UN panel, which has been reviewing North Korean sanctions violations for 15 years, is renewed annually. The move highlights a sharp shift in Moscow’s stance toward Pyongyang after years of playing a role in UN disarmament efforts.

Before his term expired, UN observers confirmed that debris from a January attack on the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv came from a North Korean missile and said the weapons transfer violated a UN arms embargo on Pyongyang. According to Reuters.The embargo prohibits the export and import of arms.

Putin is unlikely to acknowledge that any ammunition or weapons were shipped during the visit. Russia denies any military transfers that violate UN embargoes.

The two leaders will discuss energy, transportation, agriculture, economics and security issues during their visit, Kremlin foreign policy aide Yuri V. Ushakov told reporters at a news conference on Monday.

Putin is also set to visit Vietnam later this week, underscoring the Kremlin’s tendency to push back against U.S. interests even in countries where Washington is improving relations. The Russian leader’s visit comes as President Biden’s visit In September.

Kim, whose grandfather came to power in 1948 with Moscow’s support, has been steadily building up his arsenal of high-end weapons and increasingly turning to the Kremlin for help.

Warming up of relations between Moscow and Pyongyang International efforts fail It is aimed at curbing North Korea’s nuclear and missile ambitions and raises questions about the enforcement of future sanctions.

Since the two leaders met last year, there have been questions about what Kim Jong Un is getting in return for providing Moscow with ballistic missiles and much-needed artillery shells.

Beyond that, the conflict provides Pyongyang with a rare opportunity to assess how its missiles perform in actual combat and potentially refine their designs.

North Korea also welcomes greater access to Russia’s cutting-edge military technology, including its extensive knowledge of satellites. Two months after Kim Jong Un visited Russia last year, North Korea announced its The first military reconnaissance satellite South Korean officials said the launch was carried out with technical assistance from Moscow.

Russia has the world’s largest nuclear arsenal and one of the most advanced submarine programs, as well as a range of other technologies that North Korea is interested in. Despite years of efforts by Washington and the United Nations to disarm, Pyongyang has conducted six nuclear tests and developed an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States.

Isolated from the world by international sanctions, North Korea has a range of needs beyond the military that Moscow could help with. South Korean officials say Russia, the world’s largest wheat exporter, is supplying North Korea with food and raw materials, as well as parts needed for weapons manufacturing.

In an article published in the Trud newspaper before his visit, Putin said Moscow would support North Korea in its fight against a “cunning, dangerous and aggressive enemy” by deepening economic relations and establishing a new trade settlement system free from US interference.

Ushakov said Russia’s trade with North Korea reached $34.4 million in 2023, nine times the previous year. He said the summit would discuss restoring humanitarian relations that were interrupted during the pandemic due to North Korea’s strict regulations.

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