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North Korea’s Kim Jong Un visits Putin in Russia — first foreign trip since 2020

Talks between Kim Jong Un, North Korean leader, and Russian President Vladimir Putin have wrapped up after a two-day visit.

The North Korean president’s last visit to Russia was in 2019 and he has not met any foreign official since March 2020.

On Wednesday, the leaders met at the Vostochny Cosmodrome, a space centre in Russia, where Putin said Moscow will help Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital, to build satellites.

“That’s exactly why we came here,” Putin said.

“The leader of North Korea shows great interest in space, in rocketry, and they are trying to develop space. We’ll show our new objects.”

North Korea has made space technology a priority but has tried and failed twice this year to launch a spy satellite into orbit.

Jong Un said the meeting has propelled Russia into North Korea’s “first priority”, assuring that the Asian country will support the Kremlin in its fight against ruling forces.

“As you said, the Soviet Union played a very big role in the liberation of our country, as well as in the independence of our state, and our friendship has deep roots,” Jong Un said.

“And now, relations with the Russian federation are the very first priority for our country. I am sure that our meeting will be the next step to take relations to a new level.

“Now Russia has risen to the sacred fight to protect its sovereignty and security against the hegemonic forces that oppose Russia. And now we want to further develop the relationship.

“We will prioritise the North Korea-Russia relationship and put it as the number one priority of our foreign policy from now on.

When asked if the two will negotiate an arms deal, Putin said “all issues” will be discussed “without haste”.

‘FIGHTING IMPERIALISM’

Jong Un also assured Putin that “we will always support the decisions of President Putin and the Russian leadership”.

“I also hope that we will always be together in the fight against imperialism and for the construction of a sovereign state,” the North Korean leader said.

North Korea views the United States as the nation which tries to invade other countries on the pretext of establishing peace.

At an anti-US rally in Pyongyang this year, people carried placards with the slogan: “The imperialist US is the destroyer of peace”.

The US has also been very vocal in condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and has supported Ukraine by providing arms worth billions of dollars and money.

On Monday, the US state department said it would closely monitor the meeting and warned that it will not hesitate to impose new sanctions if there is any transfer of arms from North Korea to Russia.

Since 2006, the United Nations (UN) security council has passed nearly a dozen resolutions sanctioning North Korea for developing nuclear weapons and related activities.

The US and other countries have also imposed unilateral sanctions.

The sanctions ban the trade of weapons and military equipment, freeze the assets of people involved in the nuclear program, and restrict scientific cooperation, among other actions.

But the punishments have not pressured North Korea to denuclearise.

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