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Kim Jong Un Visits Vladivostok University Amid Reports of Weapons Talks with Moscow

by Sophia Chen
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Kim Jong Un's Visit to Vladivostok and Military Cooperation with Russia

Following his inspection of Russia’s nuclear-armed aircraft and advanced armaments, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un extended his stay in Russia’s Far East with a visit to the Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok. Concurrently, North Korean state-run media reported on Kim’s initiatives to bolster military ties with Russia.

Kim’s tour of the university came just one day after Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and other high-ranking military officials introduced him to some of the cutting-edge weapons systems that Russia has deployed in its conflict with Ukraine. This includes strategic bombers, hypersonic missiles, and a principal vessel from its Pacific fleet.

In discussions with Shoigu, Kim emphasized enhancing “strategic and tactical coordination” between the militaries of both nations, according to the Korean Central News Agency. This has raised apprehensions about a potential military alliance that could escalate Russia’s ongoing conflict with Ukraine.

While military collaboration remains the primary focus of Kim’s trip, he is also seeking to encourage broader bilateral exchanges as he aims to emerge from diplomatic seclusion.

Footage released by Russia’s RIA Novosti state news agency showed Kim, clad in a black suit and accompanied by senior officials, arriving at the university situated on Russky Island.

Subsequent to the university visit, Kim is expected to engage in discussions with Oleg Kozhemyako, the governor of Russia’s Primorye region—of which Vladivostok is a part—on student exchange programs for summer camps and to explore food industry businesses in the region.

Kim’s ongoing visit, highlighted by a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, illustrates the converging interests of both countries in the face of escalating tensions with the Western powers. Officials from the United States and South Korea have suggested that North Korea could supply essential munitions to Russia in its Ukrainian conflict, in return for advanced Russian weaponry that could aid North Korea’s nuclear program.

Kim had also inspected an aircraft manufacturing facility in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, where Russia’s most formidable fighter jets are produced. He then proceeded to an airport near Vladivostok where he was presented with an overview of Russian warplanes, including types like the Tu-160, Tu-95, and Tu-22 bombers, which have been actively deployed in the Ukrainian conflict.

During this visit, Shoigu and Lt. Gen. Sergei Kobylash, commander of the Russian long-range bomber force, for the first time disclosed that the Tu-160 bomber had been recently fitted with new cruise missiles with an extended range exceeding 6,500 kilometers.

In their prior meeting in July, Kim had presented Shoigu with a tour of North Korean military capabilities and extended an invitation to a large military parade in Pyongyang, where North Korea showcased its most potent intercontinental ballistic missiles aimed at the United States.

Kim’s itinerary of visiting military and technological locations in Russia may indicate what he is seeking in return for aiding Russia, potentially supplying munitions to bolster Russia’s dwindling resources in a protracted conflict with Ukraine.

The summit between Kim and Putin took place at Russia’s principal spaceport, suggesting Kim’s interest in Russian help for obtaining space-based intelligence capabilities and missile technologies.

Experts propose that future military collaborations could involve modernizing North Korea’s antiquated air force, which still uses aircraft supplied by the Soviet Union in the 1980s.

In recent times, Kim has also shifted his attention toward fortifying North Korea’s naval capabilities, possibly aiming for Russian high-end technologies related to ballistic and nuclear-propelled submarines, and potentially initiating joint naval drills between Russia and North Korea.

Later in the day, Kim attended a performance of Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty ballet at a local theater. According to KCNA, Kim was met with enthusiastic applause and expressed his profound gratitude to both the performers and the theater for the artistic rendition of the ballet.

Russian state media reported that Kim left the theater after the first act.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Kim Jong Un’s Visit to Vladivostok and Military Cooperation with Russia

What was the purpose of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s visit to Russia?

Kim Jong Un’s visit to Russia had multiple objectives, with a primary focus on enhancing military cooperation between North Korea and Russia. Concurrently, the visit also aimed to foster broader bilateral exchanges, as North Korea seeks to break out of its diplomatic isolation.

Where did Kim Jong Un visit during his trip to Russia?

During his trip, Kim Jong Un visited various sites in Russia, including the Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok. He was also shown Russia’s advanced weaponry, including strategic bombers and hypersonic missiles, and met with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and other high-ranking military officials.

What was discussed between Kim Jong Un and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu?

Kim Jong Un and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu discussed strengthening “strategic and tactical coordination” between the two countries’ militaries. According to the Korean Central News Agency, they also exchanged views on practical issues related to further fortifying the cooperation and mutual exchanges between the armed forces of both nations.

What concerns have been raised due to Kim Jong Un’s visit?

The visit has sparked concerns about a potential military alliance between North Korea and Russia that could escalate Russia’s ongoing conflict with Ukraine. It has also brought up the possibility that North Korea could provide Russia with essential munitions for its Ukrainian conflict in exchange for advanced Russian weaponry.

What was the significance of Kim’s visit to the Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok?

While the predominant focus of Kim’s trip is military cooperation, his visit to the university in Vladivostok suggests an interest in encouraging broader exchanges between North Korea and Russia, possibly in the realm of education and academia.

How does this visit impact relations between Russia and Western powers?

Kim’s ongoing visit, highlighted by a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, illustrates the converging interests of both countries in the face of escalating tensions with Western powers, specifically the United States and South Korea. This alignment could potentially complicate diplomatic and military equations in the region.

Did Kim Jong Un engage in any cultural activities during his visit?

Yes, Kim Jong Un attended a performance of Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty ballet at a local theater in Russia. He received enthusiastic applause and expressed his profound gratitude to both the performers and the theater.

What could future military cooperation between North Korea and Russia entail?

Future military collaborations could involve modernizing North Korea’s antiquated air force, which relies on warplanes sent from the Soviet Union in the 1980s. There could also be efforts to obtain Russia’s high-end technologies related to ballistic and nuclear-propelled submarines, as well as the initiation of joint naval drills between the two countries.

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10 comments

AliceInChains September 17, 2023 - 11:42 am

Shoigu showing Kim the hypersonic missiles and all the other high-tech gear. Like what, are they trading baseball cards but for WMDs?

Reply
MikeJr September 17, 2023 - 1:02 pm

Wow, Kim and Putin teamin’ up? That’s like a supervillain team-up right there. Watch out world.

Reply
TonyW September 17, 2023 - 3:23 pm

well this is a diplomatic curveball isnt it? Russia and North Korea getting chummy could seriously shift the geopolitical landscape.

Reply
Sarah_G September 17, 2023 - 4:28 pm

I mean, are we even surprised anymore? I’ve always said, “keep your friends close, but your enemies closer” — seems like what Kim’s doing here.

Reply
WaryCitizen September 17, 2023 - 5:18 pm

Russia showing off its war tech to North Korea? Feels like we’re in some dystopian thriller, except it’s real life.

Reply
TechBro September 17, 2023 - 6:50 pm

from a tech perspective, this might mean North Korea getting its hands on some serious Russian hardware. Not a comforting thought.

Reply
RealistJane September 18, 2023 - 12:53 am

Let’s be real. This isnt about friendship or cultural exchange. It’s about weapon tech and military strategy.

Reply
PoliticoJohn September 18, 2023 - 1:37 am

The geopolitics of this situation are complex, to say the least. But there’s nothing complex about the danger of these two nations uniting against common foes.

Reply
EconGuy September 18, 2023 - 4:14 am

Given the economic sanctions on both countries, this alliance was inevitable. Still, concerning to see what this could mean for Ukraine.

Reply
JennyP September 18, 2023 - 6:38 am

So Kim takes a cultural break with Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty? Kinda ironic given the tension he’s stirring up.

Reply

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