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Kim Jong-un and Putin sign deal to help each other if Russia or North Korea is attacked

Kim Jong-un and Putin sign deal to help each other if Russia or North Korea is attacked

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a new partnership deal on Wednesday that includes a pledge of mutual aid if either country is attacked at a time when both nations are facing international isolation.

Mr Kim and Mr Putin signed what they described as the “strongest ever treaty” during the Russian leader’s rare trip outside his country in an attempt to find allies and partners amid increasing global isolation.

The deal, which the leaders said covered areas including security, trade, investment, and cultural and humanitarian ties, could mark the strongest connection between Moscow and Pyongyang since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.

Marking his first visit in nearly a quarter-century, Mr Putin arrived in Pyongyang on Tuesday for a reciprocal visit following Mr Kim’s trip to Russia last September.

Mr Kim offered a red carpet welcome to Mr Putin, greeting the Russian leader with a hug at the airport. They left in the same limousine to the Kumsusan State Guest House where Mr Putin is staying.

Mr Putin is forced to turn to reclusive North Korea as the war in Ukraine draws sanction from global leaders and brings the two leaders closer than ever.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (R) attend an official welcoming ceremony during their meeting in Pyongyang
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (R) attend an official welcoming ceremony during their meeting in Pyongyang (EPA)

The US has raised concerns that Russia is seeking munitions from North Korea for its war in Ukraine, offering economic assistance and technology transfers that could enhance the threat from Mr Kim’s nuclear and missile programmes.

It was not clear what kind of assistance the deal but the deal was described as a “comprehensive strategic partnership” in case of aggression against participants.

Mr Kim said the deal would facilitate assistance in various areas including politics, economy, culture and military.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, right, arrive to attend the official welcome ceremony in the Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un, right, arrive to attend the official welcome ceremony in the Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang (AP)

The two leaders held one-on-one talks for about two hours, according to reports, and held a lavish ceremony for the guests.

He called the Russian leader “the most honest friend and ally” of North Korea and referred to him as “the dearest friend of the Korean people”.

Russia and North Korea’s “fiery friendship” is now even closer than during Soviet times, he added and promised “full support and solidarity to the Russian government, army and people in carrying out the special military operation in Ukraine to protect sovereignty, security interests and territorial integrity”, Mr Kim said.

Mr Putin hailed Mr Kim for his support for the Ukraine war, part of what he said was a “fight against the imperialist hegemonistic policies of the US and its satellites against the Russian Federation.”

Russia's President Vladimir Putin and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un attend a meeting in Pyongyang, North Korea 19 June 2024
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un attend a meeting in Pyongyang, North Korea 19 June 2024 (via REUTERS)

The two leaders exchanged gifts after the talks. Mr Putin presented Mr Kim with a Russian-made Aurus limousine and other gifts, including a tea set and a naval officer’s dagger. Mr Kim’s presents to Putin included artworks depicting the Russian leader.

Mr Putin also drove Mr Kim in the limousine during the visit, Russian state TV showed. The meeting of Mr Kim and Mr Putin amplified the “invincibility and durability” of Russia-North Korea friendship at a crucial time, North Korean state media KCNA said.

The two had a “friendly chat” and “exchanged their pent-up inmost thoughts” during their first brief meeting ahead of the summit which will be marked by pomp and fanfare.

Pledging to build a “new multi-polar world”, the two are expected to ink a new strategic partnership agreement, according to Russian and North Korean media reports.

Pyongyang was bedecked in life-size posters of Mr Kim and flags of the two countries heavily adorn the streets. The Russian leader touched down in Pyongyang at about 2.45am local time, leading an entourage of most senior leaders from the country, highlighting the significance of the visit.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un smile during their meeting at the Pyongyang Sunan International Airport outside Pyongyang, North Korea, early Wednesday, 19 June 2024. (Gavriil Grigorov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un smile during their meeting at the Pyongyang Sunan International Airport outside Pyongyang, North Korea, early Wednesday, 19 June 2024. (Gavriil Grigorov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP) (Sputnik)

Foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, first deputy prime minister Denis Manturov, defence minister Andrei Belousov and his deputy have flown to the hermit kingdom. Other top officials are the health and transport minister and the head of Russia’s space agency as well as railways.

Mr Kim is among the handful of world leaders who have voiced support for Russia’s war against Ukraine while Mr Putin has embraced the partnership with “comrades-in-arms” amid Western sanctions isolating and squeezing the economy of the country.

The show of bonhomie between the leaders and growing ties has rattled the US and other Nato members that have warned countries against providing legitimisation to Russia’s actions in Ukraine by hosting the Kremlin leader.

“We know North Korean ballistic missiles are still being used to hit Ukrainian targets (and) there could be some reciprocity here that could affect security on the Korean peninsula,” the US national security council spokesperson, John Kirby, said.

Nato’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, said Mr Putin’s visit showed he was “dependent” on authoritarian leaders for support.

“Their closest friends and the biggest supporters of the Russian war effort – war of aggression – [are] North Korea, Iran and China,” he said.

Dr Colin Alexander, a political communications expert at Nottingham Trent University, told The Independent Russia-North Korea ties are not at their closet as they were during the Cold War. But it is the desperate need for support that has pushed Moscow into the embrace of Pyongyang.

“Russia is currently struggling for international support, with the UN and most of the international community disapproving of its actions in Ukraine. A global power in a situation like this is more likely to reach out to whoever is willing,” he said.


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