“The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has always expressed its full and unconditional support for all measures taken by the Russian government and I take this opportunity to reaffirm that we will always stand with Russia ...”
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in his opening remarks at a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
sep 13, 2023
Why It Matters: The two men, both of which lead nations armed with nuclear weapons, met for several hours at a rocket launch facility in eastern Russia. In their opening remarks, Putin said they would discuss "the situation in the region," humanitarian issues and economic cooperation. Kim Jong Un voiced unwavering support for Moscow. They met with their delegations, then again in a one-on-one meeting before having an official lunch.
- In return for potential aid to North Korea, U.S. officials say Pres. Putin may ask for ammunition (such as rockets and artillery shells) for the war in Ukraine. When asked about this military cooperation, Putin said, "Russia is a self-sufficient country, but there are things we can bring attention to, we’re discussing them."
- Why the rocket launch facility? Vostochny Cosmodrome is "Russia's most important launch center" (The Associated Press). The AP's reporting suggests North Korea (a U.S. designated state sponsor of terrorism) is looking to Russia for help in developing military reconnaissance satellites, which Kim Jong Un has deemed vital for enhancing the threat of North Korea's missiles. Russia recently used the launch facility for a robotic spacecraft that unintentionally crashed into the moon.
- In the coming days, Kim Jong Un will visit two more Russian cities without Pres. Putin.