Putin signs joint pact with Kim as Pyongyang welcomes Russian leader with fanfare



CNN

Vladimir Putin agreed to a “comprehensive strategic partnership” with him North Korean Kim Jong Un drew cheers, flag-waving and celebration in the isolated state’s capital Pyongyang on Wednesday after a rare visit by a Russian president.

Thousands North Koreans The city’s wide boulevards were lined with chants of “Welcome Putin.” Russian And North Korean flags and bouquets, as Putin kicked He has visited North Korea for the first time after 24 years.

According to Russian state news agency TASS, the pair signed a new strategic partnership to replace previous agreements signed in 1961, 2000 and 2001.

Putin was met with enthusiastic celebrations at a reception with his entourage at Kim Il Sung Square in the heart of the North Korean capital, where mounted soldiers, military personnel and children held balloons and cheered against the backdrop of large portraits of each leader.

The two autocrats presented their respective officials and stood together as the Russian national anthem was played, smiling and waving to the crowd before they rode shoulder-to-shoulder in an open-top hearse.

Later, as the two leaders exchanged gifts, Putin gave Kim an Auras, according to Russian state media — the second time Putin has given Kim this car model. Putin’s aide Yuri Ushakov said the Russian leader also presented Kim with a tea set. Ushakov did not specify what Putin received, but said they were “good gifts”.

Putin landed in North Korea early Wednesday morning, exactly 24 years to the day since his last visit to Pyongyang, for a visit that marked the countries’ deepening alignment in the face of shared hostility to the West and international concerns. Military cooperation.

Several governments accused Pyongyang of supplying Moscow with weapons A grinding war in UkraineBoth countries have denied an allegation despite significant evidence of such transfers.

Ahead of the talks between the two, Kim voiced his “full support and solidarity with the struggles of the Russian government, military and people,” specifically pointing to Moscow’s war in Ukraine “to protect its own sovereignty, security and regional stability.”

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“The situations continue to be complex and ever-changing, but I want to take this opportunity to reiterate that we will strengthen strategic communication and engage closely with the (Russian) leadership,” Kim added.

Putin praised the countries’ relations based on “equality and mutual respect” and said the expected new bilateral agreement “will form the basis of relations between the two countries for many years to come,” according to Russian state agency Tass. He also said he hoped Kim would travel to Moscow for the next meeting.

The burgeoning relationship has fueled concern in both Seoul and Washington over the possibility not only of North Korea transferring weapons to Russia, but also of Moscow transferring its superior military technology to aid Pyongyang’s largely sanctioned weapons program.

Gavriil Grigorov/Pool/AFP/Sputnik/Getty Images

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin leave during a reception at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang on June 19.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un attend a reception in Pyongyang, North Korea, June 19, 2024.

Vladimir Smirnov/Sputnik/Pool/Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attend an official welcoming ceremony at Kim Il Sung Square on June 19, 2024 in Pyongyang, North Korea.

Video footage of the Russian leader’s visit showed Kim, the third-generation leader of North Korea’s iron-fisted dynasty, welcoming Putin at the airport early Wednesday.

The landmark visit is a significant boost for Kim, who remains isolated on the world stage due to his largely sanctioned missile and nuclear weapons program and has not hosted another world leader in his capital since the pandemic.

Amid rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula and warnings in Pyongyang about tightening coordination between the United States, South Korea and Japan, Kim has stepped up belligerent language in recent months and abandoned a long-standing policy of peaceful reunification with South Korea.

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North Korea’s state media appeared to play heavily on the close relationship between Kim and Putin, describing them as “exchanging their hidden inner thoughts and opening their minds to further develop (North Korea-Russia) relations”. Airport to Kumshusan State Guest House, where Putin is staying.

Putin’s trip follows Kim’s landmark visit to Russia last year, widely seen as the two leaders opening this new chapter in their relationship, foreshadowing Putin’s current offensive need for North Korean weapons.

Russia has received more than 10,000 shipping containers – the equivalent of 260,000 metric tons Ammunition or munitions-related materials — from North Korea since September, a U.S. Report In February. A US official also said Russian forces have fired at least 10 North Korean-made missiles at Ukraine since September. said In the month of March.

The Russian leader is widely seen as guaranteeing this continued support, which may be especially urgent as US military aid to Ukraine comes online late.

Ahead of his talks with Kim, Putin thanked North Korea for its “stable and unwavering support” to Russia, including in Ukraine, and its struggle against the “hegemonic” and “imperialist” policy of the United States. The two stand together against the US-led world order.

Putin tried to connect today’s meeting with Moscow and Pyongyang’s historical ties. He told Kim that the “exploits of previous generations” were a “good basis for the development of relations” between the two countries, Russian state media outlet TASS reported.

ITAR-TASS/AP

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il as he arrives in Pyongyang, Wednesday, July 19, 2000.

Putin made his last visit to Pyongyang in 2000 for a meeting with Kim’s late father and predecessor, Kim Jong Il. The trip made Putin the first Russian head of state to visit North Korea, just weeks after his first presidential inauguration.

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The eldest then was Kim Visited Moscow in 2001He took a marathon nine-day train journey across Russia for the meeting, his second trip abroad after an earlier visit to China.

In 2000, the two countries signed a new cooperation agreement. Unlike the 1961 document between the Soviet Union and North Korea, that new iteration contained no reference to mutual military security assistance, but was seen as an important step toward renewing a rich and closely linked relationship between Moscow and Pyongyang.

The two neighbors have deep ties on the Korean Peninsula. Following the defeat of the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II, Kim’s grandfather Kim Il Sung came to power in the late 1940s as part of Soviet efforts to establish a communist-controlled government in the north to rival the American-backed government in the south.

But as the Soviet Union collapsed and Russia’s fledgling state established diplomatic ties with Seoul and supported several United Nations sanctions on North Korea’s weapons program, the tightly knit relationship crumbled and changed in the intervening decades.

The latest diplomacy comes as shared frustrations with the West have drawn the two countries closer — a trend observers now see as accelerated by the war in Ukraine and the UN.

March, Moscow He vetoed the UN resolution To renew independent monitoring of North Korea’s violations of Security Council sanctions – raising concerns about a growing relationship that has weakened curbs on Kim’s illegal weapons program.

The Kremlin said earlier this week that the new agreement it expects this week will replace previous agreements signed in 2000 and 2001 and add additional declarations.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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