Kim Jong Un visits Russian aircraft factories

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visited aeronautical factories on Friday morning, particularly those producing fighter planes, continuing his exceptional trip to Russia, a country that Washington suspects of wanting to buy weapons from Pyongyang to support its offensive in Ukraine

Kim Jong Un visits Russian aircraft factories

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visited aeronautical factories on Friday morning, particularly those producing fighter planes, continuing his exceptional trip to Russia, a country that Washington suspects of wanting to buy weapons from Pyongyang to support its offensive in Ukraine.

On Wednesday, during his first official trip abroad since the Covid pandemic, the leader of Pyongyang met Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Vostochny cosmodrome (East), with the aim of strengthening ties between their two countries , particularly military.

For the moment, nothing has been officially communicated about a possible agreement for the delivery of equipment or military collaboration between the two countries, isolated and under international sanctions.

After a welcome at the Komsomolsk-on-Amur railway station, in the Russian Far East, by the governor of the Khabarovsk region, Mikhail Degtiarev, Kim Jong Un notably visited the Yuri aeronautical factory Gagarin, whom his father, former leader Kim Jong Il, had already visited in 2002, the Russian government reported in a press release.

The North Korean number one, accompanied by Russian Deputy Prime Minister for Industry Denis Mantourov, was able to inspect facilities dedicated to the production of combat aircraft as well as civil transport from the manufacturer Sukhoi, before attending a flight demonstration of a Su-35 fighter, according to the same source.

“We see the potential for cooperation both in the field of aircraft manufacturing and in other sectors,” the Russian minister said, according to the press release.

For his part, the local governor said on Telegram "confident that through common efforts (our) two states will continue to defend the ideals of freedom and a multipolar world."

“Today we stand together in the face of pressure from the collective West,” Degtiarev added.

According to Mr. Putin, Kim Jong Un must continue his trip to Vladivostok, a large city located near the Chinese and North Korean borders, in particular to attend a military "demonstration" by the Russian Pacific Fleet.

Meeting with Mr. Putin on Wednesday, Kim Jong Un declared that rapprochement with Moscow would be the "top priority" of North Korean foreign policy.

The Russian president, who accepted an invitation from Kim Jong Un to visit North Korea, for his part praised the "future strengthening of cooperation" with this country, evoking "prospects" of military cooperation despite international sanctions targeting Pyongyang because of its nuclear programs and missiles in development.

Washington expressed "concern", saying Russia was interested in purchasing North Korean munitions to support its military operations in Ukraine, launched in February 2022.

On Thursday, the White House said National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan discussed the Putin-Kim meeting with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts. “They stressed that any arms export (...) would be a direct violation of several United Nations Security Council resolutions,” detailed a press release.

Seoul for its part “firmly warned” against any transaction of this type between Moscow and Pyongyang.

"If North Korea were to reach any agreement regarding arms trade (...) with Russia", this would "seriously threaten peace and security on the Korean peninsula", the South Korean minister reacted on Friday of Foreign Affairs, Park Jin, according to the Yonhap news agency.

Asked whether additional sanctions might be imposed, Park simply added: "We are considering all possible options."

On Friday, Japan reiterated that its Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was ready to meet "without preconditions" with the North Korean leader.

“We would like to organize high-level discussions” between Tokyo and Pyongyang “under the direct control of the Prime Minister in order to achieve a summit meeting as soon as possible,” declared Japanese government spokesperson Hirokazu Matsuno.

After turning to Iran to supply hundreds of explosive drones, Russia could find useful resources from Pyongyang, which has large stockpiles of Soviet equipment and mass produces conventional weapons.

“Moscow needs imports to maintain the current level of operational intensity of its war effort in the long term,” observed the German Foreign Policy Society (DGAP) in a study published last week.

Of particular interest are the 122 mm caliber rockets intended for the Soviet-era BM-21 "Grad" multiple launch rocket launchers (MLRS), which equip Russian forces in Ukraine and are in the North Korean arsenal. Russia.

In exchange, Pyongyang could be provided with Russian oil and food, and even access to space technologies.

Moscow has discussed possible aid in the construction of satellites, after two recent failures by North Korea to place a military spy satellite in orbit, but also proposed sending a North Korean cosmonaut into space, according to intelligence agencies. Russian press, which would be a first for the country.

15/09/2023 07:58:41 -         Moscow (AFP) -         © 2023 AFP