Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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Putin to visit N Korea amid international concerns over their military cooperation

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Seoul, June 17: Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit North Korea for a two-day visit starting Tuesday, both countries announced, amid international concerns about their military cooperation.
Putin is expected to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for talks as they deepen their alignment in the face of separate, intensifying confrontations with Washington. It will be Putin’s first trip to North Korea in 24 years.
North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency said Putin will pay a state visit on Tuesday and Wednesday at Kim’s invitation. North Korean state media didn’t immediately provide details. Russia confirmed the visit in a simultaneous announcement.
There are growing concerns about an arms arrangement in which Pyongyang provides Moscow with badly needed munitions to fuel Putin’s war in Ukraine in exchange for economic assistance and technology transfers that would enhance the threat posed by Kim’s nuclear weapons and missile program. Military, economic and other cooperation between North Korea and Russia have sharply increased since Kim visited the Russian Far East in September for a meeting with Putin, their first since 2019.
U.S. and South Korean officials have accused the North of providing Russia with artillery, missiles and other military equipment to help prolong its fighting in Ukraine, possibly in return for key military technologies and aid. Both Pyongyang and Moscow have denied accusations about North Korean weapons transfers.
Any weapons trade with North Korea would be a violation of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions that Russia, a permanent U.N. Security Council member, previously endorsed.
Andrei Lankov, an expert on North Korea at Kookmin University in Seoul, noted that in exchange for providing artillery munitions and short-range ballistic missiles, Pyongyang hopes to get higher-end weapons from Moscow.
Lankov noted that while Russia could be reluctant to share its state-of-the-art military technologies with North Korea, it’s eager to receive munitions from Pyongyang. “There is never enough ammunition in a war, there is a great demand for them,” Lankov told. There were signs that Kim was preparing to throw a lavish celebration for Putin as he tries to boost the visibility of their relationship to his domestic audience. The North Korea-focused NK News website said Monday that its analysis of commercial satellite images suggest that the North is possibly preparing a huge parade at a square in the country’s capital, Pyongyang.
Kim in recent months has made Russia his primary focus as he tries to strengthen his regional footing and expand cooperation with nations confronting the United States, embracing the idea of what he portrays as a “new Cold War. (AP)

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