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SEOUL, South Korea – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un discussed practical issues in stepping up military cooperation with Russia’s defense minister, state KCNA news agency said on Sunday, September 17, having what KCNA called a “fresh heyday” of relations between the two countries.
During his visit to Russia, Kim inspected Russian nuclear-capable strategic bombers, hypersonic missiles and warships on Saturday, September 16, accompanied by Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu.
Continuing his now week-long train journey, Kim will go to several food enterprises, Russia’s RIA news agency reported on Sunday.
The trip by the North Korean leader, who seldom leaves his country, comes as “a fresh heyday of friendship and solidarity and cooperation is being opened up in the history of the development of the relations between the DPRK and Russia,” state KCNA news agency said, using the initials for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Kim met Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, September 13, and discussed military matters, the war in Ukraine and deepening cooperation.
The United States and its allies worry about warming military ties between the two neighbors as Russia continues its invasion of Ukraine and North Korea proceeds with missile and nuclear development.
South Korea and the US say that military cooperation between North Korea and Russia would violate UN sanctions against Pyongyang and that the allies would ensure there was a price to pay.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol called such a military partnership “illegal and unjust,” saying the international community would “unite more tightly” to cope with deepening ties between Moscow and Pyongyang, in written responses to the Associated Press on Sunday.
Yoon headings to New York on Monday for the UN General Assembly.
Russia has gone out of its way to publicize Kim’s visit, dropping repeated hints about the prospect of military cooperation with North Korea, a country formed in 1948 with the backing of the Soviet Union.
Kim and Shoigu “exchanged their constructive opinions on the practical issues arising in further strengthening the strategic and tactical coordination, cooperation and mutual exchange between the armed forces of the two countries and in the fields of their national defense and security,” KCNA reported.
Moscow is discussing joint military exercises with North Korea, Shoigu told Russian media. He visited Pyongyang in July and toured a weapons exhibit with Kim, one of the most striking signs of deepening ties up to that point.
Kim also toured Russia’s Pacific Sea Fleet equipped with strategic nuclear submarines among other military vessels, KCNA said, quoting him as praising the fleet for its contribution to peace in the region.
North Korea this month launched its first operational “tactical nuclear attack submarine.”
Oleg Kozhemyako, governor of Russia’s far eastern Primorsky region, gave Kim with a bullet proof vest and six drones produced in the region, RIA news agency said. – Rappler.com