Putin’s historic visit to North Korea after 24 years

Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit North Korea for the first time in 24 years, highlighting the growing relationship

| Updated: 18 June, 2024 1:27 pm IST
Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit North Korea for the first time in 24 years, highlighting the growing relationship since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit North Korea for the first time in 24 years, highlighting the growing relationship since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

NEW DELHI: Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit North Korea for the first time in 24 years, highlighting the growing relationship since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un invited Putin during his visit to Russia’s Far East last September.

In Washington, the White House expressed concern about the growing relationship between Russia & North Korea. The US State Department said it was “quite certain” that Vladimir Putin would be seeking arms to support his war in Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy adviser, Yuri Ushakov, said Russia & North Korea might sign a partnership agreement during the visit covering security issues. Russian Defence Minister Andrei Belousov, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, & Deputy PM Alexander Novak will be part of Vladimir Putin’s delegation.

After visiting North Korea, President Putin will head to Vietnam on June 19-20, the Kremlin announced. Since Ukraine began, Russia has highlighted its renewed relationship with North Korea, causing concern among the United States & its allies in Europe & Asia.

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Washington claims that North Korea has provided weapons to Russia to fight Ukraine, though Pyongyang & Moscow deny this. US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller reiterated that North Korea had sent “dozens of ballistic missiles & over 11,000 containers of munitions to Russia” for use in Ukraine.

UN monitors concluded that at least one ballistic missile fired from Russia in Ukraine in January was made in North Korea. Ukrainian officials say about 50 such missiles were delivered to Russia by North Korea.

The Soviet Union (USSR) was the first to recognize North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, DPRK) in 1948. During the Cold War, the USSR provided substantial military and political support to North Korea, establishing a strong alliance between the two countries.

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the relationship between Russia and North Korea continued. Under Vladimir Putin’s presidency, beginning in 2000, there has been a renewed focus on North Korea. This was marked by Kim Jong Un’s visit to Russia in 2015, which further strengthened the ties between the two nations.

In 2022, North Korea recognized the independence of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics in Ukraine, aligning itself with Russia. Additionally, Russia reportedly purchased munitions from North Korea to support its invasion of Ukraine in 2022. North Korea also sent workers to Russia to address labour shortages caused by the ongoing conflict.

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Since 2023, the partnership between North Korea and Russia has been upgraded, potentially impacting Russia’s actions in Ukraine and enhancing North Korea’s military capabilities. The two countries share a border along the Tumen River, and their relationship remains significant, with strategic implications for the region.

Kim Yo Jong, Kim Jong Un’s sister, is more discussed in the global media than Kim Jong Un. North Korea is a male-dominated country, but Kim Yo Jong has entered politics and made her presence felt. Media reports suggest she could be more eccentric and cruel than her brother if she comes to power.

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