North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met with President Vladimir Putin at the Vostochny Cosmodrome, Russia’s space rocket launch site, in Amur province in the Far East region on Wednesday. The meeting comes as North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into waters off its east coast on Wednesday.
Before the much-touted meeting between the two leaders, there were global worries about potential arms deal that could fuel Moscow’s war endeavours in Ukraine.
The two leaders took a tour through a Soyuz-2 space rocket launch facility, at which Kim peppered a Russian space official with inquiries regarding the rockets. Kim and Putin then met up with their delegations and later one-on-one, as per Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov.
He told reporters that there are no plans for Putin and Kim to sign documents with respect to their Wednesday meeting at the Russian space center, as indicated by state media Russia 1.
“All other issues concern only our two sovereign countries. And they should not be a subject of concern to any third state. Our cooperation is carried out for the benefit of the peoples of our two countries, but not against anyone,” Peskov added.
He said North Korea is Russia’s neighbour and though other nations have commented on their growing relations, they “will build relationships with our neighbour in a way that is beneficial to us and our neighbour.”
Kim thanked Putin for his welcome to the nation and said the two nations have “many issues” that they can collaborate on. He lauded Russia for having “stood up against the hegemonic forces” to guard its sovereignty and security, a veiled reference to the U.S. and the West.
Kim expressed his “full and unconditional support to all that Russia does in response.”
On being asked whether Russia will assist North Korea with building satellites, Putin was cited by Russian state media as saying, “that’s why we have come here. The DPRK leader shows keen interest in rocket technology. They’re trying to develop space, too,” referring to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Asked about military cooperation, Putin said “we will talk about all issues without a rush. There is time.”
Meanwhile, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff didn’t immediately respond how far or which direction the missiles flew, but he said they were discharged 10 minutes apart from an area in Sunan, the site of Pyongyang’s international airport, and that the missiles flew cross-country toward the country’s eastern oceans, Associated Press reported.
Japan’s Coast Guard, referring to Tokyo’s Protection Service, said the missile probably has landed yet encouraged vessels around the Japanese coasts to keep an eye out for falling objects.
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters that the country lodged a dissent against North Korea through diplomatic channels in Beijing. The two missiles fell in the ocean outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), he added.
Kim has been using the worldwide interference made by Russia’s war in Ukraine to increase the North’s weapons capabilities, a cycle that has launched more than 100 rocket dispatches beginning from the start of 2022.
North Korea has carried out several missiles tests this year in breach of United Nations’ sanctions that were imposed over its nuclear program in 2017.
As per U.S. officials, Putin could utilise his meeting with Kim to get more weapons supply of North Korean ammunition to refill its declining reserves and delay the conflict in Ukraine. Specialists expressed that the North Korean leader could consequently look for financial aid and modern weapons technology to propel his atomic weapons and rockets program.
Pyongyang launched two short-range ballistic missiles on Aug 30, while Kim last week directed the launch of the country’s first ‘tactical nuclear attack’ submarine, the Hero Kim Kun Ok.