North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has praised Moscow for having “stood up against the hegemonic forces” to defend its sovereignty and security, a veiled reference to the US and the West.
Kim told President Vladimir Putin that “Russia will emerge victorious in the fight to punish the evil forces,” as the two leaders met for talks at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia’s far east on Wednesday.
Kim did not name Ukraine but said the “Russian military and its people will inherit the shining tradition of victory” and demonstrate their reputation on the front line of the “military operation.”
Elsewhere in his remarks, the North Korean leader vowed to establish “a new era of 100-year friendship” between the two countries, and expressed his wish for “the great Russia’s new victory” and Putin’s health.
“I will always be standing with Russia,” Kim said. "we will always support the decisions of President Putin and... we will be together in the fight against imperialism".
Putin floats military cooperation
President Putin, for his part, stated that there were "possibilities" for military cooperation between the countries. The Russian president also signaled a willingness to assist North Korea in developing its space and satellite program.
When asked by a reporter earlier Wednesday whether Russia would help North Korea launch its own satellites and rockets, Putin responded, “That’s exactly why we came here.”
“The leader of North Korea shows great interest in space, in rocketry, and they are trying to develop space. We’ll show our new objects,” Putin said. “We’ll talk about all the issues without haste, there is time.”
Video released by the Kremlin Wednesday showed the two leaders shaking hands before touring the space center and adjoining rocket complex, where launch vehicles are assembled and tested.
North Korea has made space technology a priority. Kim in the past had stressed the role of military satellites as a means to protect national safety and territorial stability.
Washington claimed it had intelligence data that the talks between Putin and Kim on a weapons deal were "actively advancing".
Kremlin said Kim's visit would cover "bilateral relations, the situation in the region and in the global arena."
The North Korean leader's previous trip abroad was to Russia to meet Putin after the collapse of bilateral denuclearization talks with then-US president Donald Trump.
Since 2006, North Korea has been under UN sanctions over its nuclear weapons and missile programs.
West breaking pledges on humanitarian support for Pyongyang: Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday the geopolitical climate had changed completely since the United Nations imposed sanctions on North Korea, and he accused the West of breaking pledges on humanitarian support for Pyongyang.
Lavrov said the West had broken contractual agreements by providing Soviet-era weaponry to Ukraine - a reference to arms supplied to Kiev by central and eastern European countries which once belonged to the Moscow-led Warsaw Pact.
Ever since the war began, Kiev's allies, led by the United States and Britain, have been supplying Ukraine with weapons, a step that Russia says would prolong the conflict.