Russia’s Putin and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un sign partnership agreement

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have signed an agreement. An agreement on Wednesday The pact pledges mutual assistance in the face of “aggression” from any country, a strategic agreement that comes at a time when both countries are facing a growing standoff with the West.

Details of the deal It was not immediately clear, but it could mark the strongest ties between Moscow and Pyongyang since the end of the Cold War. The two leaders described it as a major upgrade in their relationship, involving security, trade, investment, cultural and humanitarian ties.

The summit comes at a time when Putin is visiting North Korea for the first time in 24 years and the US and its allies have expressed their concern over it. Growing concerns On a possible arms deal in which Pyongyang would provide Moscow with desperately needed weapons. War in UkraineIn exchange for economic aid and technology transfers, that could increase the threat posed by Kim Jong Un’s nuclear weapons and missile programs.

Kim said the two countries have an “extremely deep friendship” and the agreement is their “strongest agreement ever”, raising relations to the level of an alliance. He vowed full support for Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Putin called it a “successful document” reflecting shared desires to take relations to a higher level.

North Korea and the former Soviet Union signed a treaty in 1961 that experts say required Moscow to intervene militarily if North Korea was attacked. The agreement was scrapped after the collapse of the USSR and replaced in 2000 by a deal that offered weaker security assurances. It was not immediately clear whether the new agreement offers the same protections as the 1961 treaty.

Kim met Putin at the airport, where the two shook hands, hugged twice and got into a limousine together. The huge convoy passed through the glittering streets of the capital, where buildings were decorated with giant Russian flags and portraits of Putin.

After spending the night at the state guesthouse, Putin was welcomed at a ceremony in the city’s main square on Wednesday morning, attended by thousands of spectators, including children carrying balloons and people wearing coordinated T-shirts in the two countries’ national colours of red, white and blue. Crowds lining the streets chanted “Welcome Putin” and waved flowers and flags.

Putin and Kim saluted the honor guard and walked the red carpet. Kim introduced key members of his leadership, including Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui; top aide and ruling party secretary Jo Yong Won; and the leader’s powerful sister Kim Yo Jong.

In their talks, Putin thanked Kim for North Korea’s support in Ukraine, saying it was part of the “fight against the imperialist hegemonic policies of the United States and its satellites against the Russian Federation.”

Putin praised links between Soviet forces fighting Japanese forces on the Korean Peninsula at the end of World War II and Moscow’s support for Pyongyang during the Korean War.

It was not made clear what kind of support was promised in the agreement. Kim has used similar language before, repeatedly saying North Korea supports a just action to protect Russia’s interests and blaming the West’s “hegemonic policy” for the crisis.

North Korea faces heavy sanctions from the United Nations Security Council over its weapons programme, while Russia also faces sanctions from the US and its Western allies over its invasion of Ukraine.

US and South Korean officials have accused North Korea of ​​providing Russia with artillery, missiles and other military equipment for use in Ukraine, possibly in exchange for key military technologies and assistance. On Tuesday, a US State Department spokesperson said that in recent months, Washington had observed North Korea “illicitly transfer dozens of ballistic missiles and more than 11,000 containers to assist Russia’s war effort.”

Both Pyongyang and Moscow have denied allegations of the arms transfer, which would violate several UN Security Council sanctions that Russia has previously supported.

Along with China, Russia has provided political patronage to Kim’s efforts to expand his nuclear arsenal, and has repeatedly blocked U.S.-led efforts to impose new U.N. sanctions on North Korea over its weapons tests.

in March, Russia’s veto in the Security Council Monitoring of UN sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear programme has been dropped, leading Western countries to accuse Moscow of trying to evade scrutiny by buying weapons from Pyongyang.

Putin’s foreign affairs adviser Yuri Ushakov told reporters in Pyongyang that the leaders exchanged gifts after the talks. Putin presented Kim with a Russian-made Aurus limousine and other gifts, including a tea set and a naval officer’s dagger. Ushakov said Kim’s gifts to Putin included artworks depicting the Russian leader.

Later Putin and Kim attended a concert that included marching soldiers, weapon throwing, dancing and patriotic songs. Putin clapped and spoke to Kim through a translator, saying something that made both laugh.

Putin also visited the Life-Giving Trinity Church in Pyongyang. The Russian leader presented the Trinity icon to the Orthodox Church.

At a dinner held before leaving for Vietnam, Putin cited a proverb that says “a close neighbour is better than a distant relative”, while Kim rejoiced at the “immortal existence of the invincible DPRK-Russia relations, which are the envy of the world.”

Earlier, Putin said that the partnership includes cooperation in political, trade, investment, cultural and humanitarian fields in addition to security. He said that Russia would not refuse to develop military-technical cooperation with North Korea.

They signed a deal to build a road bridge across their border, and a pact on cooperation in health care, medical education and science, the Kremlin website said.

In Washington, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Putin’s visit to North Korea showed how Russia “is, in desperation, trying to develop and strengthen ties with countries that can provide it with what it needs to continue the aggressive war it has launched against Ukraine.”

Koo Byongsam, a spokesman for South Korea’s Unification Ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs, said the Seoul government was still interpreting the summit’s results, including what Russia’s response would be if North Korea attacked.

China is North Korea’s biggest ally and economic lifeline, responsible for most of the country’s trade. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lin Jian said high-level exchanges between Moscow and Pyongyang are “bilateral arrangements between two sovereign states,” though he gave no specific assessment of the agreements.

Sam Green of the Center for European Policy Analysis said Putin’s visit to Pyongyang was a sign of how beholden he is to some other countries since he invaded Ukraine. He said that previously, “there were always North Koreans coming to Russia. It wasn’t like this.”

Green said the visit would be a good way to upset the West, as it would show that Moscow’s interests and influence extend beyond Ukraine.

North Korea may try to increase labor exports and other activities to Russia to obtain foreign currency in defiance of U.N. sanctions, according to the Institute for National Security Strategy, a think tank run by South Korea’s main spy agency. Talks are likely to be about boosting cooperation in agriculture, fisheries and mining, and further promoting Russian tourism to North Korea, the institute said.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula are at their highest level in several years, and the pace of Kim Jong Un and his allies is also accelerating. Weapon trials and joint military exercises Tensions are increasing between America, South Korea and Japan.

The Koreas have also waged Cold War-style psychological warfare, with North Korea dropping tons of garbage onto South Korea via balloons and South Korea broadcasting anti-North Korea propaganda over its loudspeakers.


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