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Kim Jong Un Returns Home Following Six-Day Visit to Russia’s Far East

by Lucas Garcia
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Kim Jong Un Russia visit

Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea, is en route back to his homeland this Sunday after concluding a significant six-day journey to Russia, a trip that has generated international apprehensions about possible arms agreements between the two nations, both of which are currently embroiled in separate conflicts with Western countries.

Departing from Russia’s Primorye region in the Far East, Kim boarded his fortified train following a farewell event held at a local railway station, according to the Russian state-controlled news agency RIA.

Since crossing into Russian territory last Tuesday, marking his first international trip in over four years, Kim had engaged in high-level discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin and toured essential military and technological facilities. Earlier on Sunday, he took part in more leisurely activities, including a visit to a university and an aquatic performance at a Russian aquarium.

Footage released by Russian state media showed Kim, attired in a black suit and flanked by high-ranking aides, conversing with Russian representatives through translation services while touring the Far Eastern Federal University on Russky Island.

Later, Kim was observed at the Primorsky Aquarium, the largest in Russia, where he watched aquatic performances that featured beluga whales, bottlenose dolphins, fur seals, and a walrus named “Misha,” which, according to Russian reports, especially captivated him.

The trip, punctuated by a Wednesday summit with Putin, has amplified the overlapping interests of Russia and North Korea in the context of escalating tensions with the West. Officials from the U.S. and South Korea have speculated that North Korea could furnish Moscow with essential ammunition for its conflict in Ukraine, in return for advanced Russian armaments that could bolster North Korea’s nuclear capabilities.

On Saturday, a day after inspecting a factory in Komsomolsk-on-Amur that manufactures Russia’s premier fighter jets, Kim was given an exclusive tour of an airport near Vladivostok. There, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and other top military personnel presented him with various Russian aircraft actively deployed in the Ukrainian conflict, including the Tu-160, Tu-95, and Tu-22 bombers that are regularly equipped with cruise missiles.

During this military visit, both Shoigu and Lt. Gen. Sergei Kobylash, who commands Russia’s long-range bomber force, confirmed for the first time the recent upgrading of the Tu-160 bomber with new cruise missiles boasting a range exceeding 6,500 kilometers (over 4,040 miles).

Shoigu, who had previously visited North Korea in July, also showcased to Kim one of Russia’s most recent missile innovations, the hypersonic Kinzhal, which is carried by the MiG-31 fighter jet and was first used in combat in the ongoing Ukrainian war.

Subsequently, Kim and Shoigu inspected the Admiral Shaposhnikov frigate in Vladivostok. Russian Navy Commander Adm. Nikolai Yevmenov provided Kim with a comprehensive briefing about the ship’s advanced capabilities, including its long-range Kalibr cruise missiles that have been fired at targets in Ukraine.

North Korean state media confirmed that Kim was joined during Saturday’s military tours by his leading defense officials, encompassing the chief commanders of his air force and naval divisions.

Following a formal luncheon, both Kim and Shoigu deliberated on the regional security landscape and discussed “operative matters relating to the further strengthening of strategic and tactical collaboration, cooperation, and reciprocal exchanges between the military forces of the two nations,” as stated by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency.

During their earlier meeting in July, Shoigu was treated by Kim to a similar inspection of North Korean military capabilities, followed by an invitation to a large-scale parade in Pyongyang, featuring North Korea’s most potent intercontinental ballistic missiles aimed at the United States.

Kim’s various tours of military and technological sites during his Russian visit offer potential clues about his objectives, possibly indicating his interest in exchanging armaments with Russia as Moscow’s resources deplete in a protracted conflict in Ukraine.

Kim’s tête-à-tête with Putin was conducted at Russia’s primary spaceport, suggesting Kim’s interest in Russian collaboration for his plans to develop space-based reconnaissance capabilities and missile technologies.

Analysts posit that future military collaborations between the two nations could encompass efforts to refurbish North Korea’s antiquated air force, which still operates on Soviet-era aircraft supplied in the 1980s.

This report includes contributions from Big Big News correspondent Elise Morton in London.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Kim Jong Un Russia visit

What was the purpose of Kim Jong Un’s six-day trip to Russia?

The trip had multiple facets, including high-level talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, visits to key military and technological installations, and leisure activities. The visit served to underline the increasingly aligned interests between North Korea and Russia, particularly against a backdrop of heightened tensions with Western nations.

Who accompanied Kim Jong Un during his various tours in Russia?

Kim Jong Un was accompanied by top North Korean defense and military officials during his tours, particularly during his visit to military installations near Vladivostok.

What types of Russian military technology were shown to Kim?

During his visit to an airport near Vladivostok, Kim Jong Un was shown various Russian aircraft, including Tu-160, Tu-95, and Tu-22 bombers, that are actively used in the conflict in Ukraine. He was also introduced to the hypersonic Kinzhal missile, which is carried by the MiG-31 fighter jet.

Was there any indication of arms deals between North Korea and Russia?

While no formal agreements were publicly disclosed, the trip has generated international apprehensions about possible arms agreements between the two nations. Speculations suggest that North Korea could supply Russia with ammunition for its war in Ukraine in exchange for advanced Russian armaments.

What did Kim Jong Un and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu discuss?

Following a formal luncheon, both Kim and Shoigu deliberated on the regional security landscape and discussed operative matters relating to the further strengthening of strategic and tactical collaboration, cooperation, and reciprocal exchanges between the military forces of the two nations.

What clues did the trip provide about Kim Jong Un’s objectives?

Kim Jong Un’s tours of military and technological sites offer potential clues about his objectives. These possibly indicate his interest in exchanging armaments with Russia as Moscow’s resources deplete in a protracted conflict in Ukraine. The location of Kim’s meeting with Putin at Russia’s primary spaceport also hints at Kim’s interest in space-based reconnaissance capabilities and missile technologies.

Did the trip include any leisure activities for Kim Jong Un?

Yes, earlier on Sunday before his departure, Kim took part in leisurely activities including a visit to a university and an aquatic performance at Russia’s largest aquarium, the Primorsky Aquarium.

Who contributed to the reporting of this story?

The report includes contributions from Big Big News correspondent Elise Morton in London.

More about Kim Jong Un Russia visit

  • North Korea-Russia Relations: An Overview
  • Kim Jong Un: Profile and Policies
  • Russia’s Military Involvement in Ukraine
  • Global Arms Trade and International Security Concerns
  • Vladimir Putin and Foreign Policy Objectives
  • Far Eastern Federal University: Campus and Programs
  • Primorsky Aquarium: Features and Exhibits
  • Recent Developments in North Korean Military Capabilities
  • Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu: Career and Policies

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