North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Saturday in Vladivostok in Russia's Far East, where he reviewed advanced Russian weapons, including a hypersonic missile system.
He will still be in Russia on Sunday to discuss with the authorities in Vladivostok on the development of his country's relations with the region, assured the regional Russian governor, quoted by the Ria Novosti news agency.
Mr. Kim, who is making his first trip abroad to Russia since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, arrived at Vladivostok airport on Saturday from Komsomolsk-on-Amur, where he had visited aircraft factories the day before, said the state news agency Tass.
At the Knievichi air base, Mr. Kim was welcomed by Sergei Shoigu who presented him with a MiG-31 fighter and its Kinjal hypersonic missile system, according to the same source.
The North Korean leader also reviewed ?u-160, Tu-95MS and ?u-22?3 bombers.
“These aircraft constitute the air component of Russia’s strategic nuclear forces,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement.
Later Saturday, according to the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology, he went to Vladivostok's Mariinsky Theater to see a performance of "Sleeping Beauty," a ballet by famous Russian composer Tchaikovsky.
According to images broadcast on the ministry's Telegram channel, Kim arrived in a black car, surrounded by heavy security, before rushing into the theater's honorary box.
At the end of the show, the regional governor, Oleg Kojemiako, affirmed that discussions between the two men were planned for Sunday on "the development of relations" between North Korea and the region in the fields of "sport, tourism , culture (and) commerce".
On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Kim Jong Un would attend a “demonstration” of the Russian Pacific Fleet in Vladivostok.
In this large city located near the Chinese and North Korean borders, Kim Jong Un boarded the Russian warship Marshal Chapochnikov, where he was welcomed by the commander of the frigate.
Also present on board, the commander-in-chief of the Russian fleet, Nikolai Levmenov, explained to the North Korean leader the characteristics of the ship and its anti-submarine weapons, "quadruple torpedo tubes and RBU rocket launchers -6000,” TASS said.
In Vladivostok, Mr. Kim must also "visit the Far Eastern Federal University and certain facilities of the Russian Academy of Sciences, whose laboratories work on marine biology", detailed Mr. Putin on Russian television .
The Russian president and the North Korean leader met Wednesday at the Vostochny cosmodrome, nearly 8,000 kilometers east of Moscow.
Arriving in Russia on Tuesday, Mr. Kim invited Mr. Putin to visit North Korea soon, but no agreement, including military, has been signed between the two countries, according to Russian presidential spokesperson Dmitri Peskov.
Westerners suspect Moscow of wanting to buy weapons from Pyongyang for the conflict in Ukraine. North Korea, for its part, is suspected of wanting to acquire technologies for its nuclear and missile programs.
During their meeting the two leaders mutually offered each other a rifle, gifts seen as symbolic given Western fears.
The two men displayed their closeness, with Vladimir Putin even mentioning "prospects" of military cooperation despite international sanctions targeting Pyongyang because of its nuclear and missile development programs.
Washington had for its part expressed its "concern" about the possible purchase of North Korean munitions, and Seoul had "firmly warned" against any transaction of this type.
After turning to Iran to deliver hundreds of explosive drones, Russia could find useful resources in Pyongyang, which has large stockpiles of Soviet equipment and mass produces conventional weapons.
Particularly susceptible are 122 mm rockets intended for USSR-era BM-21 “Grad” multiple launch rocket launchers (MLRS), which equip Russian forces in Ukraine and are in the North Korean arsenal. to interest Russia.
In exchange, Pyongyang could be provided with Russian oil and food, and even access to space technologies.
Moscow has raised possible aid in the manufacture of satellites, after the failure of two recent attempts by North Korea to place a military spy satellite in orbit, but has also proposed sending a North Korean cosmonaut into space, according to Russian news agencies, which would constitute a first for this country.
16/09/2023 14:36:36 - Moscow (AFP) - © 2023 AFP