North Korea’s supreme leader, Kim Jong Un, has invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to visit Pyongyang.
According to a report by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Thursday, Putin warmly received this invitation, showcasing the strengthened ties between the two nations.
The leaders reunited after a gap of four years, during which Kim Jong Un voiced unequivocal support for Russia’s special military operations that began in Ukraine in the previous year. This pledge of support comes as the West increases pressure on Russia with sanctions and criticism for its actions in Ukraine.
Mutual Support and Prospective Collaborations
During their lengthy conversation on Wednesday, Kim Jong Un graciously invited Putin to visit the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) at a convenient time. Putin was reportedly pleased to accept the invitation and expressed his determination to foster the historic friendship and camaraderie between Russia and North Korea.
Kim Jong Un also confidently asserted Russia would triumph over its adversaries amidst warnings from Ukraine’s Western allies concerning a potential arms deal between Russia and North Korea. Meanwhile, Putin acknowledged the deepening cooperation and friendship between the two nations during Kim’s visit to a Far Eastern spaceport. Additionally, he hinted at potential military collaborations with North Korea, even suggesting assistance in satellite development for Pyongyang.
Global Reactions and Security Concerns
In response to these developments, Matthew Miller, a spokesperson from the US State Department, labelled any such cooperation as “quite troubling”, potentially breaching numerous UN Security Council resolutions. Further, there have been suggestions from US officials and experts that Russia might be considering purchasing ammunition from North Korea for use in Ukraine.
Simultaneously, the South Korean military reported that North Korea conducted two ballistic missile tests on Wednesday. These tests, considered a breach of UN Security Council resolutions, were executed near Pyongyang, covering a distance of approximately 650 km (404 miles), as South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff noted. This provocative move has sparked a strong protest from Japan, communicated through diplomatic channels in Beijing, emphasizing the missile launches’ violation of international agreements. Notably, both projectiles landed outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), highlighting the increasing tensions in the region.