All eyes on Russian President Vladimir Putin as he arrives in North Korea for first visit in 24 years. See details here

Before heading for his summit with North Korea's supreme leader Kim Jong Un, Russian President Vladimir Putin had thanked the country for supporting his actions in Ukraine and promised “close cooperation” to overcome western sanctions.

Livemint, Written By Jocelyn Fernandes
Updated18 Jun 2024, 02:34 PM IST
Russian President Vladimir Putin goes down the stairs upon his arrival at the airport of Yakutsk, republic of Sakha also known as Yakutia, Russia Far East, Russia earlier today on June 18
Russian President Vladimir Putin goes down the stairs upon his arrival at the airport of Yakutsk, republic of Sakha also known as Yakutia, Russia Far East, Russia earlier today on June 18(Sergei Karpukhin / Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia has arrived in North Korea today (June 18) for his first official visit to the East Asian nation in 24 years, as per reports.

This visit comes after North Korea's supreme leader Kim Jong Un extended an invitation to Putin in September 2023. Putin last visited Pyongyang in July 2000 and this schedule underlines Moscow's burgeoning partnership with the fellow nuclear-armed state since its invasion of Ukraine.

Kim meanwhile has travelled to Russia twice since — by train. One in 2019 and again in 2023, where the duo were photographed toasting each other over Russian wine.

Putin will visit Vietnam on June 19-20 after concluding his North Korean visit, as per the Kremlin.

Also Read | Vladimir Putin’s dangerous bromance with Kim Jong Un

What's On The Agenda?

In an earlier repot, Putin's foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov indicated the two countries may pursue a partnership agreement that would encompass security issues.

Ushakov said the deal would not be directed against any other country, but would “outline prospects for further cooperation, and will be signed taking into account what has happened between our countries in recent years — in the field of international politics, in the field of economics ... including, of course, taking into account security issues.”

In an op-ed piece in North Korean state media hours before he landed, Putin said Russia and North Korea would continue to “resolutely oppose” what he described as Western ambitions “to hinder the establishment of a multipolarized world order based on mutual respect for justice.”

Putin also said Russia and North Korea will develop trade and payment systems “that are not controlled by the West” and jointly oppose sanctions against the countries, which he described as “unilateral and illegal restrictive measures.”

Putin added that the countries will also expand cooperation in tourism, culture and education.

Notably, Putin's delegation includes Russian Defence Minister Andrei Belousov, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Putin's point man for energy, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak.

Also Read | Vladimir Putin to visit North Korea on June 18-19; US embassy reacts

Global Political Rumblings

In the United States, the White House expressed discomfort about Russia and North Korea's deepening relationship. The US State Department said it was “quite certain” Putin would be seeking arms to support his war in Ukraine.

Russia has gone out of its way to publicize its renewed bond with North Korea since being oscratised after its invasion of Ukraine. The US, its allies and Europe and Asia, particularly South Korea have raised the alarm.

Washington alleges North Korea supplied Russia with weapons for its fight in Ukraine, despite both Pyongyang and Moscow repeatedly denying the charge. Speaking to reporters on June 17, US State Dept spokesperson Matthew Miller repeated the allegations, stating: “North Korea supplied dozens of ballistic missiles and over 11,000 containers of munitions to Russia for use in Ukraine.”

“The US has seen Putin get incredibly desperate over the past few months and look to Iran and North Korea to make up for equipment lost on the battlefield. So I'm quite certain that that is what he's up to,” Miller added.

Also Read | South Korea to counter Kim Jong Un’s trash balloons with loudspeaker broadcasts

Tensions High In Korean Peninsula

In the Asian neighbourhood, South Korea's vice foreign minister, Kim Hong-kyun, discussed Putin's Pyongyang visit in an emergency phone call with deputy secretary of state Kurt Campbell on Friday, Seoul's foreign ministry said.

The ministry expressed concern that the visit would result in more military cooperation between Pyongyang and Moscow, which it said violates United Nations' resolutions.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsulas are at their highest point in years, with the pace of both Kim’s weapons tests and the combined military exercises between the US, South Korea and Japan intensifying in a cycle of tit-for-tat.

The Koreas have also engaged in a Cold War-style psychological warfare that involved North Korea dropping tons of trash on the South with balloons and the South broadcasting anti-Korean propaganda broadcasts with its loudspeakers.

In March 2023, The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Putin over alleged war crimes in Ukraine. However, Vietnam, Russia and the US are not members of the ICC.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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First Published:18 Jun 2024, 02:34 PM IST
HomeNewsWorldAll eyes on Russian President Vladimir Putin as he arrives in North Korea for first visit in 24 years. See details here

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