Putin eager to visit North Korea after two decades

Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed eagerness to visit Pyongyang soon, his first trip in over two decades, following a meeting with the North Korean Foreign Minister.

During a meeting with North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui in Russia last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin conveyed his eagerness to visit Pyongyang soon, as reported by North Korea’s state news agency KCNA on Sunday. Putin expressed gratitude for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s invitation, marking a significant development as it would be Putin’s first trip to North Korea in over two decades.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov indicated on Monday about Putin’s visit to North Korea shortly, acknowledging Kim’s invitation. However, Peskov clarified that no specific date has been agreed upon yet. The KCNA’s report initially hinted at Putin’s intention to visit soon.

During Choe’s visit, Russia appreciated North Korea’s support and solidarity in its Ukraine military operation. The two nations also expressed concern over perceived provocative acts by the United States and its allies against North Korea’s sovereign rights. They agreed to collaborate in addressing the regional situation, with a commitment to align their actions with the spirit of the U.N. Charter and other international laws.

Putin’s last visit to North Korea occurred in July 2000 when he met with Kim Jong Il, the father of the current North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un. The recent acceptance of Kim’s invitation by Putin announced during their summit in Russia in September, underscores the evolving relationship between the two leaders.

However, this growing rapport has raised concerns among Washington and its allies, who condemn the arms trade between Russia and North Korea as a violation of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions. Pyongyang’s transfer of ballistic missiles and other weapons to Russia, particularly for use against Ukraine, as well as its ongoing development of nuclear and ballistic missile programs, have drawn attention.

Jung Pak, a U.S. senior official for North Korea, emphasized the significance of coordinated action at a meeting with the nuclear envoys of South Korea and Japan in Seoul on Thursday.

The international community closely watches the diplomatic developments between Russia and North Korea, balancing diplomatic relations with the broader concerns regarding arms trade and regional stability. As Putin’s potential visit looms, it remains to be seen how these geopolitical dynamics will unfold in the coming months.