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Kim Jong Un to visit Putin for weapons talks 


Kim Jong Un to visit Putin for weapons talks 

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is reportedly planning a visit to Russia this month to engage in discussions with President Vladimir Putin regarding a potential arms deal. A US official informed CBS, a BBC partner, of this development.

According to an unnamed US official, the talks are expected to center around the possibility of North Korea supplying Moscow with weapons to support Russia’s ongoing war efforts in Ukraine. The exact location for the meeting remains undisclosed.

As of now, there has been no immediate response to this report from North Korea or Russia. The New York Times suggested that Kim Jong Un might undertake this journey using an armored train.

The timing of this potential meeting coincides with recent statements from the White House indicating that arms negotiations between Russia and North Korea are progressing. 

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby revealed that Russia’s Defence Minister, Sergei Shoigu, had been actively pursuing negotiations during a recent visit to North Korea, attempting to secure artillery ammunition.

Weapons on display during these negotiations included the Hwasong intercontinental ballistic missile, marking the first time that Kim Jong Un had welcomed foreign guests since the onset of the Covid pandemic. 

This gesture was followed by mutual commitments from Kim and Putin to enhance bilateral cooperation. However, the US has expressed concern over the prospect of North Korea supplying weapons to Russia. 

There are fears that such a deal could lead to increased military collaboration between the two nations in Asia. 

Furthermore, there is apprehension that Russia could provide advanced weapons technology or knowledge to North Korea, potentially aiding its nuclear weapons program.

Nonetheless, the nature of the deal remains uncertain, with Russia seeking weapons and North Korea facing sanctions, needing financial resources and food.

The New York Times suggested that the meeting between Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin might take place in Vladivostok, a port city on Russia’s east coast. 

An advance team of North Korean officials had reportedly traveled to Vladivostok and Moscow late last month to prepare for the visit.

Both Pyongyang and Moscow have previously denied any involvement in arms exchanges for the conflict in Ukraine. 

However, concerns about Kim Jong Un’s personal security and the potential high price North Korea might demand for arms have cast doubt on the likelihood of the visit taking place.

The last meeting between the two leaders occurred in April 2019 when Kim arrived in Vladivostok by train. Afterward, Putin mentioned that Kim would require “security guarantees” to consider giving up his nuclear program. 

This meeting followed an unsuccessful summit between Kim and then-US President Donald Trump in Vietnam.

The US government has intensified its warnings about North Korea’s potential military support to Russia’s war effort in Ukraine, emphasizing that such assistance would violate US sanctions. 

Recently, the US Treasury imposed sanctions on entities allegedly involved in arms deals between North Korea and Russia.

Russia and North Korea have engaged in ongoing discussions about the arms deal since Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu’s visit to Pyongyang in July.

Another delegation of Russian officials reportedly visited North Korea for further negotiations. The US has committed to sanctioning any entities involved in such a deal and has called on Pyongyang to halt these negotiations.

Apart from North Korea, Russia has also received drones and artillery from Iran. While China has been a close diplomatic partner of Russia, there is no evidence to suggest China has provided weapons or lethal military aid to Russia.

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