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October 2023

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Kim Jong Un May Visit Russia to Discuss Weapons Deal

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is reportedly considering a visit to Russia to engage in discussions with President Vladimir Putin regarding potential weapons supply for Russia’s involvement in the Ukraine conflict, as per information from the US government.

The National Security Council has cautioned about the advancement of arms negotiations between Russia and North Korea, which gained momentum following Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu’s visit to Pyongyang in July.

Kim Jong Un is purportedly expecting continued discussions, including the possibility of diplomatic talks in Russia. However, the exact timing and location of this potential meeting remain uncertain.

South Korea’s National Intelligence Service is closely monitoring the situation, while there has been no comment from the Russian embassy in Washington. The New York Times has hinted at the meeting possibly taking place during the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, scheduled from September 10 to 13, with reports speculating that Kim may travel via his preferred mode of transportation—an armored train.

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Nonetheless, this development has arisen against a backdrop of increasing US concerns regarding North Korea’s alleged military support for Russia’s activities in Ukraine, potentially violating US sanctions. Consequently, the US Treasury recently imposed sanctions on three entities linked to arms deals between North Korea and Russia.

Since Shoigu’s visit in July, a second delegation of Russian officials has journeyed to Pyongyang for further discussions, and Putin and Kim have exchanged letters, confirming enhanced bilateral cooperation.

North Korea has already supplied infantry rockets and missiles to Russia, and the proposed agreement would entail more substantial weapon transfers to assist Russian forces in Ukraine, alongside the potential provision of raw materials for Russia’s defense industry.

The US is determined to take direct action against entities involved in such transactions and urges North Korea to cease these negotiations. Additionally, Russia is exploring the possibility of joint military exercises with North Korea.

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