In a noteworthy rendezvous at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia's far eastern Amur region, Russian President Vladimir Putin engaged in a face-to-face meeting with North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un. Kim's arrival via a private train was accompanied by the solemn tunes of a military band, setting the stage for their talks, although Washington had issued warnings against potential arms trading.
This occasion marked a rare foreign trip for Kim Jong Un, his first since the pandemic-induced travel restrictions. As he disembarked onto the red-carpeted train platform, he was greeted by Alexander Kozlov, Russia's Natural Resources Minister. Kim's journey from Pyongyang to Russia was made entirely on his train, showcasing his infrequent foreign ventures, with just seven trips abroad during his 12-year tenure, primarily to China, North Korea's primary political ally.
During their meeting, the leaders began with a tour of the Soyuz-2 space rocket launch facility, where Putin expressed Russia's willingness to assist North Korea in satellite development, acknowledging Kim's keen interest in rocket technology. Kim, in turn, conveyed to Putin that Russia was engaged in a "sacred war" against the West, emphasizing their shared commitment to battling "imperialism." He referred to the meeting as a "stepping stone" towards stronger ties between the two nations.
Putin raised a toast to the "strengthening of future cooperation" with North Korea, and Kim expressed his confidence in the Russian army and people's ability to prevail against "evil." Putin, however, underlined the importance of adhering to international obligations while exploring opportunities for bilateral military-technical cooperation.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for adherence to UN sanctions on North Korea as Kim embarked on this rare foreign visit to Russia, where both leaders pledged cooperation. In a significant development, Putin accepted Kim's invitation to visit North Korea, extending the hand of friendship and the continuation of their nations' historic relationship.