Putin flies into North Korea with promise to back it against the US

June 19, 2024 1:23 pm

[Source: Reuters]

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in North Korea on Wednesday for his first visit in 24 years, vowing to deepen trade and security ties with the reclusive nuclear-armed state and to support it against the United States.

Russian state media showed Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shaking hands, embracing and talking beside Putin’s plane. It touched down in Pyongyang around 2:45 a.m. following a stopover in Russia’s far east. The leaders then rode in the same limousine and walked together into Putin’s hotel.

The U.S. and its Asian allies are trying to work out just how far Russia will go in support of the North Korean leader, whose country is the only one to have conducted nuclear weapon tests in the 21st century.

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In a signal that Russia, a veto-wielding member of the U.N. Security Council, is reassessing its entire approach to North Korea, Putin praised Pyongyang ahead of his arrival for resisting what he said was U.S. economic pressure, blackmail and threats.

In an article published by North Korean state media, Putin praised “Comrade” Kim, and promised to “jointly resist illegitimate unilateral restrictions”, to develop trade and strengthen security across Eurasia.

Ushakov said the deal would not be directed against any other country, but would “outline prospects for further cooperation”.

Putin noted the Soviet Union was the first to recognise the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea founded by Kim’s grandfather, Kim Il Sung, less than two years before the 1950 Korean War.

North Korean state media also published articles praising Russia and supporting its military operations in Ukraine, calling them a “sacred war of all Russian citizens”.