Putin received North Korea amid great fanfare in the first visit by the Russian leader in 24 years

Vladimir Smirnov/Sputnik/Pool/Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attend an official reception at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea on June 19, 2024.


Thousands of North Koreans Chants of “Hello Putin” spread throughout the wide streets of Pyongyang Russian North Korean flags and flower bouquets on Wednesday as Russian President Vladimir Putin began his ceremony First visit to North Korea in 24 years.

Putin was met with great fanfare at a reception with his counterpart Kim Jong Un in Kim Il Sung Square in the heart of the North Korean capital, where soldiers, military personnel and children carrying balloons cheered against the backdrop of large pictures of the two leaders. Leaders.

Putin and Kim presented their delegations and stood together as the Russian national anthem played before the two autocratic leaders rode shoulder-to-shoulder in an open limousine while smiling and waving to the crowds.

Putin arrived in North Korea in the early hours of Wednesday morning local time for a rare visit, heralding Moscow’s deepening alliance with Pyongyang in the face of shared hostility toward the West and international concerns about their growing military cooperation.

Multiple governments have accused Pyongyang of supplying weapons to Moscow on their behalf The brutal war in UkraineThis is a charge that both countries denied, despite strong evidence of such transfers.

In remarks ahead of the talks between the two, Kim expressed his “full support and solidarity with the struggles of the Russian government, its army and its people,” specifically referring to Moscow’s war in Ukraine “to protect its sovereignty, integrity and territorial stability.” ”

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Kim added: “The situation remains complex and constantly changing, but I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate that we will continue to strengthen strategic communication with the (Russian) leadership and participate closely in it.”

Putin praised relations between the two countries as built on “equality and mutual respect” and said the expected new bilateral agreement “will form the basis of relations between the two countries for many years to come,” according to Russia’s TASS state agency. He also added that he hopes Kim will visit Moscow for their next meeting.

Gavriil Grigorov/Pool/AFP/Sputnik/Getty Images

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin exit a reception at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang on June 19.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un attend a reception on June 19, 2024 in Pyongyang, North Korea.

The diplomacy represents a stark sign of expanding ties between them, and also represents a major boost for Kim, who remains isolated on the world stage due to his illegal weapons program and has not hosted another world leader in his capital since the pandemic.

Video footage of the arrival of Russian leader Kim, the third generation leader of the family that ruled North Korea with an iron fist, showed him welcoming Putin at the airport in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

The couple then rode together to the Kumsusan guesthouse where Putin is staying, according to the North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency.

The two leaders then “exchanged their pent-up deep thoughts and opened their minds to develop relations (North Korea and Russia) more affirmatively in accordance with the common desire and will of the peoples of the two countries,” KCNA said.

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The burgeoning relationship has raised concern in both Seoul and Washington, not only about North Korea’s arms transfers to Russia, but also about the possibility of Moscow transferring superior military technology to aid Pyongyang’s weapons program, which is under heavy sanctions.

Tensions remain high on the Korean Peninsula, where Kim in recent months has intensified his belligerent tone and scrapped a long-standing policy of seeking peaceful reunification with South Korea.

Putin’s trip comes on the heels of Kim’s historic visit to Russia last year, where the two leaders were widely seen as opening this new chapter in their relationship built on Putin’s need for North Korean weapons for its ongoing offensive.

Russia received more than 10,000 shipping containers – the equivalent of… 260,000 metric tons Munitions or munitions-related materials – from North Korea since September, according to the United States statement In February. Russian forces have also fired at least 10 North Korean-made missiles into Ukraine since last September, a US official also said. He said in March.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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