Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un expected to meet for ‘arms discussion’: US

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (left) and Russian President Vladimir Putin attend an official reception following their talks in Vladivostok, Russia in April 2019. — Reuters
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (left) and Russian President Vladimir Putin attend an official reception following their talks in Vladivostok, Russia in April 2019. — Reuters

As tensions between North Korea and the US and its regional allies continue to spiral with both sides conducting military drills to keep the war at bay, Washington said Monday that Kim Jong Un is expected to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin to “advance arms negotiations”. 

A National Security Council spokesperson  Adrienne Watson told the media that as we have warned publicly, arms negotiations between Russia and the [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] DPRK are actively advancing.”

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

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

NSC spokesperson John Kirby had earlier 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 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.”

“As we have warned publicly, arms negotiations between Russia and the DPRK are actively advancing,” she added.

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

Defence Minister Shoigu said during the meeting last month: “For Russia, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is an important partner, with which we share a common border and a rich history of cooperation.”

Since the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu was the first senior defence official from the country to visit North Korea.

Kim hosted a reception and lunch with Shoigu and vowed solidarity with Russia’s people and military. Shoigu praised the North Korean military as the strongest in the world, and the two discussed strategic security and defence cooperation, according to KCNA.

In another meeting, Minister Shoigu read a “warm letter” from Russian President Vladimir Putin who thanked North Korea for its support during the “special military operation” in Ukraine.

According to The New York Times, officials say Kim — who rarely travels outside his country — is likely to travel this month to Vladivostok, on Russia’s Pacific coast not far from North Korea, to meet with Putin.



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