“Arms discussions between Russia and the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] are expected to continue during Kim Jong Un’s trip to Russia.”
White House National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in Russia via an armored train on Tuesday, marking his first foreign trip in more than four years.
sep 12, 2023
Why It Matters: After traveling by train from North Korea to Russia, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is expected to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss cooperation between the two nations – both of which face heavy sanctions from the West. Neither country has specified when or where the leaders will convene, but this week will mark the first time the two men have met since 2019 (and their only second in-person exchange).
What both leaders are seeking: North Korea (a U.S. designated state sponsor of terrorism) is expected to request military technology and economic aid; he may also seek much needed food and energy supplies, according to analysts. PBS News Hour explains, "Pandemic-era border closures have left North Korea with severe economic difficulties ..." The country also faces steep United Nations sanctions; The Associated Press reports, "Any arms deal with North Korea would violate the sanctions, which Russia supported in the past." In return for potential aid to North Korea, U.S. officials say Putin may to ask for ammunition (such as rockets and artillery shells) for the war in Ukraine.