This picture taken on Sept. 10, 2023 and released from North Korea's KCNA shows Kim Jong Un waving as he departs by train from Pyongyang. (AFP photo/KCNA via KNS)
SEOUL: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in Russia where he is expected to hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Russia’s far east amid warnings from the U.S. and South Korea against a potential arms transfer.
Tuesday, South Korean officials said they are closely monitoring the first meeting between Kim and Putin in four years.
“The Ministry of National Defense believes that Kim Jong-un probably entered Russia early this morning using a private train,” said spokesperson Jeon Ha-kyu, citing “the presence of a large number of military personnel” that accompany Kim.
“We are closely watching whether negotiations related to arms trade and technology transfer between North Korea and Russia will take place,” he added.
Kim and Putin reportedly will discuss North Korea supplying Russia with more weapons to be used in its war against Ukraine and other military operations, while Kim appears to be looking for Russia to give North Korea advanced technology for its satellites and nuclear-powered submarines, as well as food assistance.
In Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday that Kim’s visit to Russia will be “full-fledged.” “There will be negotiations between two delegations, and after that, if necessary, the leaders will continue their communication in a one-on-one format.”
The U.S. and South Korea have renewed warnings to North Korea not to provide munitions to Russia that could be used in the Ukraine war.
“No United Nations member country should violate the U.N. Security Council sanctions and resolutions, including [engaged in] illegal arms trade,” said South Korea’s foreign ministry spokesperson Lim Soo-suk during a Tuesday briefing.