Kremlin Mum on Western Reports of Imminent Putin–Kim Summit in Russia

Adam Morrow
By Adam Morrow
September 6, 2023World News
Kremlin Mum on Western Reports of Imminent Putin–Kim Summit in Russia
Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attend a reception following their talks at the Far Eastern Federal University campus on Russky island in the far-eastern Russian port of Vladivostok on April 25, 2019. (Alexey Nikolsky/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)

According to Western officials cited by The New York Times, North Korea’s Kim Jong-un is set to meet Vladimir Putin in eastern Russia.

When asked about the claims on Sept. 5, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, “We have nothing to tell you.”

The Kremlin has never stated that a Putin-Kim meeting was on the agenda.

But on Sept. 4, The New York Times reported that Mr. Kim planned to meet Mr. Putin in mid-September in Russia’s far eastern city of Vladivostok.

According to the newspaper, the two men plan to discuss “the possibility of supplying Russia with more weaponry for its war in Ukraine and other military cooperation.”

To support its assertions, The New York Times cited unnamed “American and allied officials” who “declined to provide details on how spy agencies had collected the information.”

The newspaper also claimed that Mr. Kim would likely travel “by armored train” from Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital, to Vladivostok, where he would meet Mr. Putin. 

According to the unnamed officials, Moscow hopes to obtain North Korean artillery shells and antitank missiles in return for “advanced technology for satellites and nuclear-powered submarines.”

If the purported meeting materializes, it would not be the first of its kind. 

In 2019, Mr. Kim traveled by train to Vladivostok, roughly 300 miles from North Korea’s border, where he met Mr. Putin for the first time.

Vladimir Putin Kim Jong Un
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Far Eastern Federal University campus on Russky island in the far-eastern Russian port of Vladivostok on April 25, 2019. (Alexey Nikolsky/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)

Shoigu in Pyongyang

In late July, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu visited Pyongyang, where he attended a ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the end of the Korean War.

It was the first known visit to North Korea by a Russian defense minister since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

In Pyongyang, Gen. Shoigu attended a military parade and held talks with the North Korean leader.

The Russian defense ministry later stated that talks had included an “exchange of views on issues pertaining to global and regional security.” 

According to the officials cited by The New York Times, it was at this meeting that Gen. Shoigu proposed a second visit to Russia by Mr. Kim.

In mid-August, Gen. Shoigu said military cooperation between Russia and North Korea did not pose a threat to any third countries.

“The development of [Russia-North Korea] military cooperation corresponds to the vital interests of our peoples,” he said at a security forum hosted by Moscow.“It does not pose a threat to anyone whatsoever,” he asserted. 

NTD Photo
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Chinese Communist Party politburo member Li Hongzhong and Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu attend a military parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Korean War armistice in Pyongyang, North Korea, on July 27, 2023. (KCNA via Reuters)

Warning from Washington

On Sept. 5, White House spokesman John Kirby said talks between Russia and North Korea about potential weapons transfers were “actively advancing.”

On the same day, U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan warned Pyongyang that it would “pay a price” if it supplied Russia with weapons for use in the latter’s ongoing invasion of eastern Ukraine.

Such a move, he told reporters, “is not going to reflect well on North Korea, and they [Pyongyang] will pay a price for this in the international community.”

In August, the United States imposed sanctions on three entities that it claimed were connected to arms deals between North Korea and Russia.

Mr. Kirby has previously hinted at U.S. plans to impose fresh sanctions on both Russia and North Korea in light of their alleged cooperation in the military-technical field.

In May 2022, China and Russia vetoed a U.S.-led push at the UN Security Council to impose additional sanctions on North Korea after the latter test-fired several ballistic missiles.

White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan talks to reporters during a news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington on Sept. 5, 2023. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Envoy Scorns Sanctions

Last week, Alexander Matsegora, Moscow’s envoy to Pyongyang, said Western-led sanctions won’t stop the two countries from enhancing their bilateral ties.

“As for the impact of UN Security Council sanctions on [Russia-North Korea] relations, I would say firmly: they have no effect,” he told Russia’s TASS news agency on Sept. 2.

Mr. Matsegora added that Moscow and Pyongyang both already assumed that sanctions would “be in effect for a very long time, if not forever.”

The diplomat went on to assert that there was scope for bilateral cooperation in “many areas,” adding that political cooperation in particular was gathering steam.

He also said the inclusion of North Korea in future joint Russia–China military drills would be “appropriate,” but stressed he was unaware of any plans to this effect. 

Reuters contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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