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North Korean leader arrives in Russia for talks with Putin

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, accompanied by government officials, departs Pyongyang, North Korea, to visit Russia, on September 10, 2023, in this image released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency on September 12, 2023. (Via Reuters)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has arrived in Russia for a meeting with President Vladimir Putin that will involve discussing “sensitive” subjects, according to the Kremlin spokesman.

Russian state news agency Ria Novosti reported on Tuesday that a train carrying Kim entered Primorsky region in Russia’s Far East.

According to North Korea’s official KCNA news agency, Kim, accompanied by officials from the military, the government, and his ruling Workers’ Party of Korea had left for Russia from Pyongyang by his private train on Sunday afternoon.

Kim does not travel abroad frequently, and the visit is his first trip abroad in four years.

“It will be a full-fledged visit,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian media. “There will be negotiations between two delegations, and after that, if necessary, the leaders will continue their communication in a one-on-one format.”

Putin is currently in Vladivostok for the plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum, which runs through Wednesday.

Peskov said that the meeting between Putin and Kim would take place after the forum, and would discuss “sensitive” subjects.

“Obviously, as neighbors, our countries also cooperate in sensitive areas that should not be the subject of public disclosure and announcements. This is perfectly normal for neighboring states,” he said.

The US has claimed that Kim and Putin are likely to discuss providing Russia with weapons for the war in Ukraine.

On Monday, Washington warned Pyongyang not to sell weapons to Russia that will be used in the war in Ukraine.

Peskov downplayed US “warnings” over the talks, saying “In building our relations with our neighbors, including North Korea, the important thing for us is the interests of our two countries, not Washington’s warnings.”

US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said, “I will remind both countries that any transfer of arms from North Korea to Russia would be in violation of multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions.”

“We, of course, have aggressively enforced our sanctions against entities that fund Russia’s war effort, and we will continue to enforce those sanctions and will not hesitate to impose new sanctions if appropriate.”

Moscow and Pyongyang have further enhanced ties since the start of the war in Ukraine last year.

Kim has described the war in Ukraine as a US “proxy war” to destroy Russia. He has condemned Western military aid to Kiev and blamed the “hegemonic policy” and “high-handedness” of the United States and the West for the conflict.

Russia began what it calls a special military operation in Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Moscow said the operation was aimed at defending Ukraine’s pro-Russia population in Donetsk and Luhansk, eastern Ukrainian regions, against persecution by Kiev.

Moscow has frequently warned that a continued supply of Western arms and military equipment for the Ukrainian military would only prolong the war.

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