Putin’s Rare Visit to North Korea Signals Strengthened Ties Amid Ongoing Conflicts
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By The Smartencyclopedia Staff Writer with Agencies 

In a move that underscores the deepening alliance between Moscow and Pyongyang, Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to make a rare foreign visit to North Korea on June 18-19. This trip is aimed at reinforcing ties with an old ally that has expressed support for Russia’s military actions in Ukraine.

North Korean media reported Putin’s upcoming visit on Monday, while North Korean leader Kim Jong Un lauded the strengthening relationship between the two nations. In a June 12 message celebrating Russia’s National Day, Kim described the countries’ bond as an “unbreakable relationship of comrades-in-arms.”

The visit follows Kim’s trip to Russia’s Far East in September, where he met with Putin and toured several military sites. This visit raised concerns in the West about a potential arms alliance between the two nations. Although Russian and North Korean officials acknowledged discussions about boosting defense ties, no specific steps were disclosed.

Both countries are engaged in separate confrontations with the United States—Russia over its invasion of Ukraine and North Korea over its advancing nuclear program. Allegations of arms transfers between the two, which would violate multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions, have been consistently denied by both Moscow and Pyongyang.

In March, South Korean Defense Minister Shin Wonsik claimed that North Korea had shipped approximately 7,000 containers filled with munitions and other military equipment to Russia. In return, North Korea reportedly received over 9,000 Russian containers, likely filled with aid.

Andrei Lankov, a professor at Kookmin University, commented on the strategic implications of this cooperation. He suggested that North Korea’s value to Russia is heightened due to the ongoing military action in Ukraine. However, he added, “The strategic value of North Korea, in case the phase of active hostilities in Ukraine ends, is most likely not so great.” Lankov predicted that during the conflict, there would be active arms trade, but North Korea might struggle to obtain significant military-technical assistance or advanced military technology.

This upcoming visit marks Putin’s second trip to North Korea. His first visit was in July 2000, shortly after his first election, when he met Kim Jong Un’s father, Kim Jong Il.

Moscow has expressed high appreciation for Pyongyang’s support of its military actions in Ukraine and praised their “close and fruitful cooperation” at the United Nations and other international organizations. Russia, alongside China, has frequently blocked U.S. and allied efforts to impose new U.N. sanctions on North Korea over its banned ballistic missile tests.

In a controversial move in March, a Russian veto ended the monitoring of U.N. sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear program. This prompted accusations from Western nations that Moscow was seeking to avoid scrutiny while allegedly buying weapons from Pyongyang for use in Ukraine.

Earlier this year, Putin sent Kim Jong Un a luxury Aurus Senat limousine, which he had showcased during their September summit. This gift was seen as a violation of a U.N. resolution banning the supply of luxury items to North Korea, intended to pressure Pyongyang into abandoning its nuclear weapons program.

As Putin prepares for his visit, the international community watches closely, concerned about the implications of this strengthened alliance for global security and the ongoing conflicts involving both nations.

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