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North Korea’s Kim Jong Un inspects Russian bombers and a warship on a visit to Russia’s Far East

by Gabriel Martinez
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Arms Alliance

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un recently conducted an inspection of Russia’s military assets during his visit to Russia’s Far East. This visit has raised concerns in the West about the possibility of an arms alliance between North Korea and Russia, potentially contributing to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Kim’s journey began with his arrival in the city of Artyom by train. From there, he proceeded to an airport near Vladivostok, where Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and other high-ranking military officials provided him with a firsthand look at Russia’s strategic bombers and other warplanes. Notably, the warplanes on display included the Tu-160, Tu-95, and Tu-22 bombers, all of which have been actively involved in the conflict in Ukraine, launching cruise missiles.

During this inspection, Shoigu showcased one of Russia’s latest missiles, the hypersonic Kinzhal, carried by the MiG-31 fighter jet, which saw its first combat use in Ukraine. Later, in Vladivostok, Kim and Shoigu examined the Admiral Shaposhnikov frigate from Russia’s Pacific fleet. This warship is armed with long-range Kalibr cruise missiles, which have been deployed against targets in Ukraine.

Kim’s visit to Vladivostok hints at potential negotiations between North Korea and Russia, possibly involving the supply of munitions to support Putin’s ongoing military campaign in Ukraine.

This visit takes place amid increasing military cooperation between North Korea and Russia, where North Korea may seek Russian technology advancements for its nuclear and missile programs in exchange for much-needed munitions. Videos released by Russia’s Defense Ministry depict Kim’s arrival, with discussions between Kim and Russian military officials on the capabilities of various warplanes and missile systems.

Kim’s recent emphasis on strengthening North Korea’s navy may indicate his interest in obtaining advanced technologies for ballistic missile submarines and nuclear-propelled submarines. This move could also pave the way for joint naval exercises between Russia and North Korea.

Oleg Kozhemyako, the governor of Russia’s Primorsky region, announced Kim’s arrival in Artyom, where Kim received a warm welcome from local children. Kim’s visit to Russia follows his meeting with Putin and includes tours of advanced Russian warplane factories and military facilities.

While North Korean state media report on Kim’s activities in Russia a day late for propaganda purposes, both countries are cautious about publicly disclosing any deals related to weapons, given international scrutiny and sanctions. Despite this, Kim seeks to strengthen his partnerships with Moscow and Beijing, aiming to break out of international isolation and present a united front against Washington.

As Kim continues his diplomatic efforts, including his visit to China for the Asian Games, regional and global dynamics in Northeast Asia remain complex and closely watched by international observers.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Arms Alliance

What was the purpose of Kim Jong Un’s visit to Russia’s Far East?

Kim Jong Un’s visit to Russia’s Far East involved the inspection of Russian military assets, including nuclear-capable bombers and a warship. The purpose of this visit has raised concerns about the possibility of an arms alliance between North Korea and Russia, which could potentially impact the conflict in Ukraine.

Which Russian military assets were inspected by Kim Jong Un during his visit?

During his visit, Kim Jong Un inspected a range of Russian military assets, including strategic bombers such as the Tu-160, Tu-95, and Tu-22, all of which have been active in launching cruise missiles during the conflict in Ukraine. He also had the opportunity to view the hypersonic Kinzhal missile carried by the MiG-31 fighter jet. Additionally, Kim examined the capabilities of the Admiral Shaposhnikov frigate from Russia’s Pacific fleet, armed with long-range Kalibr cruise missiles.

What are the implications of Kim Jong Un’s visit for the conflict in Ukraine?

Kim Jong Un’s visit to Russia’s Far East has raised concerns in the West about the potential for an arms alliance between North Korea and Russia. This alliance could potentially provide military support to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ongoing conflict in Ukraine. However, the exact nature and extent of any cooperation between the two countries remain uncertain.

What other objectives or negotiations might be involved in Kim Jong Un’s visit to Russia?

In addition to potential arms-related discussions, Kim Jong Un’s visit to Russia may involve negotiations on various matters, including diplomatic relations, regional stability, and North Korea’s pursuit of advanced military technologies. Kim has also been focused on strengthening his navy and may seek technological advancements from Russia.

Is there any indication of North Korea’s objectives beyond military cooperation in its engagement with Russia?

Kim Jong Un’s engagement with Russia is not solely centered on military cooperation. He aims to strengthen partnerships with Moscow and Beijing as part of his broader diplomatic efforts to break out of international isolation and present a united front against Washington. This engagement includes visits to factories, discussions on aviation technologies, and participation in international events like the Asian Games.

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