What did Kim Jong Un do in Russia for 6 days?

DailyBiteSep 18, 2023 | 12:30

What did Kim Jong Un do in Russia for 6 days?

The visit holds significant implications for regional stability and international geopolitics. (Photo credit: AFP)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has concluded an extensive six-day visit to Russia, marking his first official overseas trip since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kim's armored train left amidst the stirring notes of the Russian patriotic march song "Farewell of Slavianka" as the ceremony concluded at a railway station in Artyom, a city situated approximately 200 kilometers (124 miles) from the North Korean border, as reported by Russia's state news agency, RIA.


The visit holds significant implications for regional stability and international geopolitics. While it solidified ties between Kim and President Vladimir Putin, it has also raised many concerns, particularly in the context of Russia's ongoing conflict with Ukraine and the potential ramifications for global security.

Kim's visit to Russia was his first official trip abroad since the start of the pandemic. (Photo: Reuters)

Kim's visit to Russia's Far East, which began last Tuesday, prominently featured discussions on military collaboration. Notable moments included a symbolic exchange of rifles with Putin and an inspection of advanced Russian weaponry.

Drones as gifts

As Kim's armored train departed from Artyom, a Russian city near the North Korean border, he received gifts, including explosive drones and a bulletproof vest.

Kim was presented with five explosive drones, a reconnaissance drone, and a bulletproof vest as gifts from the governor of the Primorye region, which borders China and North Korea.

North Korean news agency KCNA later published pictures of a smiling Kim wearing a traditional Russian fur hat and raising a glass of vodka with Shoigu and their delegations.

Kim sees Russia's fighter jets

On Friday, Kim made a visit to an aircraft plant situated in the city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur, known for producing Russia's most formidable fighter jets.

On Saturday, Kim was presented with a firsthand view of Russian warplanes with a history of involvement in Ukraine's conflict. These aircraft included the Tu-160, Tu-95, and Tu-22 bombers, which have been actively deployed in launching cruise missiles during the ongoing conflict, reported AP.


During Kim's visit, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Lt Gen Sergei Kobylash, the commander of the Russian long-range bomber force, made a significant revelation: the Tu-160 had recently been equipped with new cruise missiles boasting a remarkable range exceeding 6,500 kilometers (over 4,040 miles).

Military cooperation

According to state media reports, Kim Jong Un and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu discussed practical issues to boost military cooperation during Kim's recent trip to Russia. Shoigu also told Russian media that Moscow is discussing joint military exercises with North Korea.

Some analysts believe that potential military cooperation between the two countries could include efforts to modernize North Korea's outdated air force, which relies on warplanes sent from the Soviet Union in the 1980s. Russia could also provide North Korea with other types of military assistance, such as submarines, missiles, and artillery.

It is unclear whether any specific deals were reached during Kim's trip, but the fact that the two countries are discussing military cooperation is a significant development.

During the inspection of Russian weaponry, Kim displayed keen interest in the state-of-the-art equipment, including hypersonic missile systems and nuclear bombers.

While Kim's regime is known for its aging artillery systems, experts speculate that it could bolster Russian forces in Ukraine, despite accuracy concerns, reported AP.


Space cooperation

Space cooperation was also on the agenda during Kim Jong Un's recent trip to Russia. According to state media reports, Kim and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed ways to strengthen cooperation on space exploration and other scientific fields.

North Korea has a long-standing space program, but it has been hampered by international sanctions and technological limitations. Russia has a much more advanced space program, and cooperation between the two countries could help North Korea to develop its own capabilities.

On Wednesday, Putin and Kim held talks at Russia's new Vostochny cosmodrome, roughly 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles) from Moscow.

Putin's invitation and future prospects

During the visit, Kim invited Putin to North Korea, and Putin accepted the invitation, signaling a desire for closer ties. This development could pave the way for further high-level diplomatic discussions and collaboration in various sectors, including trade and infrastructure.

The potential for a North Korean to travel to space was also discussed, highlighting areas of mutual interest beyond the military realm.

As both nations face international sanctions, they are likely to explore economic and technological cooperation that aligns with their strategic interests.


Historic allies under sanctions

Both Russia and North Korea, historic allies, are currently under global sanctions, with Russia facing sanctions for its actions in Ukraine and North Korea for its nuclear weapon tests. Despite these sanctions, the two nations have signaled a willingness to expand their diplomatic and economic ties.

Kim's visit to Russia, his first official trip abroad since the start of the pandemic, reflects the evolving dynamics in Northeast Asia and the potential impact on global geopolitics.

Last updated: September 18, 2023 | 12:30
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