Vladimir Putin flies to North Korea. Moscow must look for friends


There may be “true friendship, although cautious and business-like” between the leaders of Russia and North Korea, the BBC said on Monday. On Tuesday, Vladimir Putin will visit Pyongyang, where he will meet Kim Jong Un. This will be his first visit to this country in 24 years.

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin will begin a visit to North Korea on Tuesday. The information about the trip was confirmed by the Kremlin after many months of speculation. He will visit this country for the second time during his rule and for the first time in 24 years. Last year it was Kim Jong Un he came to Russia in his armored train and invited Putin to Pyongyang.

As the website of the British broadcaster BBC writes, citing its sources, over the last week they suggested that the visit was inevitable, and satellite photos showed preparations already underway in North Korea. In a statement, the Kremlin described the event as a “friendly state visit.”

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According to the BBC, relations between the two countries have recently “switched from mutual pleasantries to mutual benefits, which worries the West.” Moscow even claims that there is room to move towards “very deep relations.” Russia is likely looking for ammunition supplies, construction workers and even volunteers to go to the front lines in… Ukraine – says Russian political scientist and former close advisor to Putin, Sergei Markov.

Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong UnPAP/Newscom

In return, Pyongyang could obtain Russian products as well as military technological assistance, including for its long-range missile program, which would reach the territory of the United States, Markov adds.

“True friendship, although cautious and businesslike”

There is no doubt that Russia must look for sources of supplies to meet the needs caused by aggression against Ukraine – writes the BBC. A recent Bloomberg report, citing South Korea's defense ministry, suggests that North Korea has already sent almost five million artillery shells to Russia.

Russia will also benefit from finding a close partner who shares “deep contempt for the West and Western sanctions, and therefore one who would like to trade with it.” Russia and North Korea are the two countries in the world most subject to sanctions. Russia because of the war in Ukraine, North Korea for working on nuclear weapons and conducting a series of ballistic missile tests.

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As the BBC writes, there may be “real friendship, although cautious and business-like” between the two leaders. In February, Putin gave Kim a luxury Russian limousine, violating sanctions imposed on Pyongyang by UN. In a recent message to Putin, Kim stated that North Korea is Russia's “invincible comrade in arms.”

Kim Jong Un received a luxury limousine as a gift from Vladimir Putin Reuters Archive

Pyongyang now has greater value to isolated Russia and recognizes that Moscow needs friends. And by visiting North Korea, Putin can show his critics that he can do whatever he wants. Find a way to circumvent Western sanctions imposed on his country, convince others to break sanctions and sell weapons to Russia, or establish new relations with countries around the world despite waging an aggressive war.

“The list of countries willing to welcome Putin is shorter than ever”

Closeness with North Korea does not necessarily bring joy to Russian society, given their cultural and historical ties with Europe and the West, we read on the British website. This is to be one of the potential threats that Putin will have to come to terms with, as well as with the new steps that Western powers will take as a result of the meeting of the two dictators.

Read also: North Korean soldiers crossed the border and warning shots were fired

As the BBC points out, ultimately we will most likely not know what decisions and arrangements will be made during this visit. Just like we didn't learn about them when Kim Jong Un arrived in Russia last year.

– The list of countries willing to welcome Putin is shorter than ever, but for Kim Jong Un this visit is a victory, said Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul. – The meeting will not only raise North Korea's profile among countries opposed to the led international order USAbut also helps strengthen Kim's legitimacy in the country, he added.

Main photo source: PAP/Newscom

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