Seoul, South Korea – In a significant development, North Korean state media reported on Sunday that President Vladimir Putin is set to visit Kim Jong Un in the near future. This signals a deepening of ties between the two leaders amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and escalating military tensions in East Asia.
According to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), Putin expressed gratitude for an invitation from Kim and assured that he would visit Pyongyang “at an early date.” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov stated that the specific dates for Putin’s visit are still under discussion through diplomatic channels and will be announced later.
The visit comes on the heels of a meeting between North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui, President Putin, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow last Tuesday. Discussions at the meeting covered various issues related to the Korean Peninsula, Northeast Asia, and international peace and security.
KCNA reported that during the Moscow meeting, both sides expressed a “strong will to further strengthen strategic and tactical cooperation in defending the core interests of the two countries.”
Notably, if Putin’s visit materializes, it would reciprocate Kim’s visit to Russia last September. During that trip, Kim commended Russia for its stance against “hegemonic forces” in the Ukraine conflict, and Putin indicated a willingness to assist North Korea in its space and satellite programs.
Observers note a growing cooperation between Russia and North Korea, with reports suggesting that Russia has fired North Korean-made missiles at targets in Ukraine, as per the US Defense Department. Additionally, South Korean intelligence has disclosed Pyongyang supplying Moscow with over 1 million artillery shells, potentially linked to the conflict in Ukraine.
This development has raised concerns among Western analysts who speculate that Russia might provide technological support to North Korea’s nuclear-capable missile program, posing a threat not only to East Asia but also to the mainland United States.
Kim’s recent statements have reflected an increasingly assertive stance against South Korea, abandoning the pursuit of reconciliation and reunification. He has directed various sectors, including the army, munitions industry, nuclear weapons, and civil defense, to expedite war preparations in response to perceived “confrontation moves” by the United States.
In a speech at a Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA) meeting in Pyongyang last week, Kim labeled the South as the North’s “primary foe and invariable principal enemy” and called for the demolition of a reunification monument in the North Korean capital, branding it an “eyesore.”