Written by 13:48 World

Putin Arrives in North Korea as Ukraine War Redefines Ties With Kim

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has arrived in North Korea, according to Russian state media, visiting for the first time in 24 years after vowing to bring ties with Pyongyang to new heights and jointly rebuff what he called the “global neocolonial dictatorship” of the United States.

The North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, met the Russian president on the airport tarmac early Wednesday local time, Russian state news agencies reported.

Mr. Putin arrived in the dead of night, descending from his airplane to a red carpet lined by uniformed guards to embrace the waiting North Korean leader, video later released by the Kremlin showed. Mr. Kim ushered Mr. Putin into a Russian-made Aurus limousine that he had received from him last year.

The war against Ukraine has driven Mr. Putin closer to Mr. Kim, who has won new status with the Kremlin by opening his vast munitions stores to Moscow.

Nine months ago, after Mr. Kim arrived by armored train in the Russian Far East, the two men met at a Russian cosmodrome and toasted their “sacred struggle” against the West. The North Korean leader, in between visiting sensitive Russian rocket and fighter jet facilities, invited Mr. Putin to make a reciprocal visit.

Now, the Russian president has taken him up on the offer. And the deepening relationship between the two authoritarian leaders poses a particular challenge for Washington. The United States once relied on Moscow’s cooperation in its attempts to curb North Korea’s nuclear and missile program. Now, it faces a Kremlin intent on playing spoiler to American geopolitical interests around the world.

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Last modified: 20 June 2024
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