Kim Jong Un offers North Korea’s “unconditional support” to Russia

September 13, 2023

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un offered Vladimir Putin his country’s “full and unconditional support” for the Russian President’s “sacred fight” against Ukraine.

After taking a day-long train trip from Pyongyang to Vladivostok, Russia just over North Korea’s border, Kim sat down with Putin for about two hours at a remote Siberian rocket launch facility for a summit Wednesday. 

Kim called relations with Russia the “first priority” for North Korea. Putin said he saw “opportunities for cooperation” between the two nations.

Kim is hoping to secure from Russia advanced satellite technology as well as food aid for his people. In exchange Putin is hoping to secure artillery shells and antitank missiles from Kim for Russia’s war in Ukraine.  

During the summit, Kim told Putin that they would remain together in the “fight against imperialism”—which, to North Korea, refers to perceived United States’ bullying of other nations, dating back to U.S. “imperialist foreign policy” during the Korean War seven decades ago. In reality, that war began when North Korea invaded South Korea, and the U.S.—as part of a U.N. coalition of 21 member nations nations—came to the South’s defense.

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. 

The summit occurred just hours after North Korea fired off two more ballistic missiles toward its eastern seas. Kim has reportedly been using the global focus on Russia’s war in Ukraine to accelerate Pyongyang’s weapons build-up, and has undertaken more than 100 missile launches since the start of 2022.

Along with Vladivostok, Kim is also set to visit the Russian industrial hub city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur, where he’ll tour defense and civil aviation factories.

Putin announced on Russian television that Kim will fly there. While Kim, like his father Kim Jong Il, is notoriously plane-shy, North Korea’s current leader has flown on his Soviet-era private jet for several excursions in the past.


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