Putin Says Russia to Help North Korea Build Satellites

Sputnik/Artem Geodakyan/Pool via REUTERS
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un visit the Vostochny Сosmodrome in the far eastern Amur region, Russia, September 13, 2023.

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia, Sept 13 (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Russia would help North Korea build satellites and, when asked if he and Kim Jong Un would talk about weapons supplies, replied that the two leaders would discuss all issues.

When asked by reporters if Russia would help Kim build satellites, Putin replied: “That’s why we came here. The leader of the DPRK shows great interest in rocket engineering, they are also trying to develop space.”

Putin showed Kim around Russia’s most modern space rocket launch site, the Vostochny Cosmodrome, which is nestled among the forests of eastern Russia not far from the Chinese border.

Kim arrived at Vostochny by train, after crossing into Russia early on Tuesday.

“I am glad to see you,” Putin said as he shook Kim’s hand for around 40 seconds at Vostochny. “This is our new cosmodrome.”

Putin also congratulated Kim on a series of North Korean anniversaries, including 75 years since the establishment of North Korea in 1948.

Via a translator, Kim thanked Putin for the invitation and for the warmth of his reception.

Putin then showed Kim around the Vostochny Cosmodrome. Russian state television said that Kim asked Putin a large number of detailed questions.

Russian media said Putin showed Kim around the building where Russia’s new space launch rocket, the Angara, is assembled. The 42.7-meter Angara rocket launches objects into low Earth orbit.

The United States has accused North Korea of providing arms to Russia, but it is unclear whether any deliveries have been made. Both Russia and North Korea have denied those claims, but promised to deepen defense cooperation.

When asked if Kim and Putin would discuss weapons supplies, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said:

“As neighbors, our countries implement cooperation in sensitive areas that should not become the subject of public disclosure and announcement. But this is quite natural for neighboring states.”