Putin Gives Kim Jong Un Special Treatment on Russia Visit

Russian President Vladimir Putin, second from left, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, examine a launch pad during their meeting at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia’s Amur region on Wednesday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin personally escorted North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who is very interested in space technology, to a rocket launch pad at a space center in the Amur region of Russia on Wednesday, sparing no effort to give him special treatment.

During their summit meeting in Russia’s far eastern region, the general secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea told Putin that his country offers its “full support” for Russia continuing its invasion of Ukraine, indicating the two countries, which are isolated in the international community, are united in their mutual interests.

At around 1 p.m. Wednesday, Putin greeted Kim outside the Vostochny Cosmodrome. Their handshake lasted as long as about 40 seconds.

Putin then took Kim to the launch site for the Soyuz-2 rocket and an assembly room for new Angara launch vehicles. Kim asked questions with great interest and leaned over the railing to observe the launch pad.

Speaking at the start of the summit meeting, Putin said, “I would like to remind you that it was our country [the Soviet Union] that first recognized North Korea as a sovereign and independent state.” He also emphasized the importance of Russian-North Korean relations, saying that Russia’s predecessor supported North Korea during the Korean War (1950-1953), underscoring the historical ties between the two countries.

These reactions reflect Moscow’s predicament of growing international isolation as a result of its prolonged aggression against Ukraine.

During their dinner, Kim expressed solidarity with Russia as if in answer to the preferential treatment, saying, “I am convinced that Russia will win a great victory in the sacred battle to punish evil.”

Details of discussions on the supply of ammunition from North Korea to Russia, which was the focus of the meeting, were not disclosed. When asked about military technology cooperation with North Korea on Russian state television after the meeting, Putin said, “Russia adheres to international arrangements, but there is room for our cooperation within the rules,” suggesting that they had reached some agreement.

North Korea failed to launch a military reconnaissance satellite in May and August, and plans to make a third attempt in October. Intercontinental ballistic missile technologies are used for the satellite’s rocket. Any technical assistance for the satellite by Russia will be a clear violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

According to Putin, Kim was scheduled to visit an aircraft plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur in the Khabarovsk region, southeast of the space center, and the Russian Pacific Fleet base in Vladivostok. North Korea may seek technology transfers related to fighter jets and submarines.