Putin and Kim Jong Un Pledge Mutual Support in New Partnership Deal
Putin and Kim Jong Un Pledge Mutual Support in New Partnership Deal

Seoul: Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have signed a new partnership agreement, promising mutual aid if either country is attacked. This deal, described as a "comprehensive strategic partnership," was made during a summit in Pyongyang on Wednesday. Both nations are facing increasing tensions with Western countries.

This marks Putin's first visit to North Korea in 24 years. The partnership has raised concerns about an arms agreement where North Korea provides Russia with much-needed munitions for its conflict in Ukraine, in exchange for economic assistance and technology that could boost Kim's nuclear weapons and missile programs.

After the signing ceremony, Putin stated that the talks with Kim focused heavily on security and international issues. He mentioned that Russia might develop military-technical cooperation with North Korea under this new deal. Kim emphasized that the agreement is peaceful and defensive, believing it will help create a new multipolar world.

In addition to their security agreement, Russia and North Korea signed deals to cooperate in healthcare, medical education, and science. Russian state media reported these agreements, citing the Kremlin's website.

Putin's nighttime arrival in Pyongyang was marked by a warm welcome from Kim, who greeted him with handshakes, hugs, and a shared limousine ride through the capital's brightly lit streets. The city was adorned with giant Russian flags and portraits of Putin.

The following morning, Putin attended a grand welcoming ceremony at the city's main square, featuring a red carpet and an honor guard. Kim introduced key members of his leadership team, including Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui, top aide Jo Yong Won, and his powerful sister, Kim Yo Jong.

The square was filled with thousands of spectators, including children holding balloons and people wearing coordinated t-shirts in the colors of the Russian and North Korean flags. Huge crowds lined the streets to greet Putin's motorcade, chanting "Welcome Putin" and waving flowers and flags.

During their talks, Putin thanked Kim for North Korea's support in Russia's war in Ukraine, calling it part of a fight against U.S. and its allies' imperialistic policies. He also mentioned that they planned to sign a new fundamental document to form the basis of their long-term ties.

Kim expressed that the "fiery friendship" between Moscow and Pyongyang is now even stronger than during Soviet times. He promised full support and solidarity with Russia in its military operation in Ukraine.

North Korea and Russia both face significant sanctions—North Korea for its weapons program and Russia for its aggression in Ukraine. U.S. and South Korean officials accuse North Korea of providing military equipment to Russia in exchange for technology and aid, though both nations deny these allegations.

Russia has provided political support for Kim's nuclear ambitions, often blocking U.S.-led efforts to impose new U.N. sanctions on North Korea. Putin's foreign affairs adviser, Yuri Ushakov, noted that the two leaders exchanged gifts after their talks, with Putin giving Kim a Russian-made Aurus limo and other items, while Kim presented artworks depicting Putin.

In Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken commented that Putin's visit to North Korea shows Russia's desperation to strengthen relations with countries that can support its war efforts in Ukraine.

North Korea might also seek to increase labor exports to Russia and engage in other illicit activities to earn foreign currency, defying U.N. sanctions. There are likely discussions about expanding cooperation in agriculture, fisheries, mining, and promoting Russian tourism to North Korea.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula are high, with increased weapons tests by North Korea and intensified military exercises involving the U.S., South Korea, and Japan. The Koreas have also engaged in psychological warfare, with North Korea dropping trash on the South using balloons, and South Korea broadcasting anti-North Korean propaganda with loudspeakers.

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