North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un arrived in Russia Tuesday after a nearly day-long train ride from Pyongyang across the border.
The meeting will reportedly take place in Vladivostok, which is just 50 kilometers from North Korea’s border with Russia, where Putin had already arrived Monday to take part in the Eastern Economic Forum.
Putin is hoping to secure artillery shells and antitank missiles from Kim for its war in Ukraine. In exchange, North Korea is looking for advanced satellite technology as well as food aid for his people.
On Monday the United States warned North Korea that any moves to supply Russia with weapons threatened further sanctions against Pyongyang, with the State Department noting that any such arms transfers violate multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions.
“We, of course, have aggressively enforced our sanctions against entities that fund Russia’s war effort, and we will continue to enforce those sanctions and will not hesitate to impose new sanctions appropriately,”State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller Monday.
North Korea has repeatedly blamed the U.S. for Russia’s war in Ukraine, claiming the West’s “hegemonic policy” justified Russia’s invasion as an act of self-defense.
Along with China, Russia has blocked U.S.-led efforts at the U.N. Security Council to strengthen sanctions on North Korea over its intensifying missile tests while further accusing Washington of flaring existing tensions by expanding military exercises with South Korea as well as Japan.
Ahead of this week’s meeting with Kim, Putin at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok signaled that he expects a long war that would only lead to peace talks after Ukraine had exhausted its men, equipment and ammunition.
He further hinted that he was not betting on a Trump election win in 2024, stating that there would be “no fundamental changes in the Russian direction in U.S. foreign policy, no matter who is elected President.”
He did, however, say that ongoing criminal prosecutions of Trump—who is facing a total of 91 criminal charges in four separate cases—”shows the rottenness of the American political system.”