North Korean leader Kim expected to meet Russia’s Putin: US

The White House said the North Korean leader is expected to hold a “leader-level diplomatic engagement” with the Russian leader.

Putin, right, and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un posing for a photo in Vladivostok, Russia on April 25, 2019. [File: Alexei Nikolsky/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP]Published On 4 Sep 20234 Sep 2023

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is expected to hold a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a White House official.

“As we have warned publicly, arms negotiations between Russia and the DPRK are actively advancing,” National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said, using an acronym for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or North Korea.

“We have information that Kim Jong Un expects these discussions to continue, to include leader-level diplomatic engagement in Russia,” she added.

Last week, the White House said that Russia was already in secret, active talks with North Korea to acquire a range of munitions and supplies for Moscow’s fight in Ukraine.

White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said that, despite its denials, North Korea supplied infantry rockets and missiles to Russia last year for use by the privately controlled Wagner military group.

Watson said on Monday that the United States urged North Korea “to cease its arms negotiations with Russia and abide by the public commitments that Pyongyang has made to not provide or sell arms to Russia”.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu travelled last month to North Korea seeking to acquire additional munitions for the war, she said.

In exchange for the additional weaponry, North Korea is expected to receive technology to improve its satellites and nuclear-powered submarines. US experts also speculate Kim could seek food assistance from Russia as part of the negotiations, according to The New York Times.

Officials say Kim — who rarely travels outside his own country — is likely to meet with Putin in the port city of Vladivostok on Russia’s Pacific coast, not far from North Korea. He is anticipated to make the voyage by armoured train.

Earlier in the day, South Korea’s intelligence agency indicated that Russian military leadership is pursuing joint naval exercises with North Korea and China, similar to those conducted by the US and its allies.

This is a developing story. More updates to follow.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies