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Foreign AffairsKim Jong Un's Russia Visit Highlights Military Ties

Kim Jong Un’s Russia Visit Highlights Military Ties

Kim Jong Un's Military-Focused Russian Tour Signals a New Era in Pyongyang-Moscow Relations

In a significant move that has caught the attention of global observers, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un recently wrapped up a six-day visit to Russia. The trip, marked by its heavy emphasis on military cooperation, has raised eyebrows and concerns about the potential for a strengthened alliance between Moscow and Pyongyang.

Kim Jong Un’s tour in Russia’s Far East was not just a diplomatic gesture. It was a clear indication of the two nations’ intent to explore deeper military cooperation. This was evident from the symbolic exchange of rifles between Kim and Russian President Vladimir Putin, a gesture that underscores the strengthening ties between the two nations.

One of the highlights of the visit was Kim’s inspection of several state-of-the-art systems that Russia has deployed in the ongoing Ukraine conflict. This included a close look at the Kinzhal hypersonic missile, supersonic bombers, and the latest weaponry on the MiG-31 missile carrier. Such an inspection, especially of advanced weaponry, signals a keen interest from North Korea in Russian military technology.

The Russian Ministry of Defense, through its official Telegram channel, confirmed Kim’s inspection of the next-generation missile system. This was further solidified by a meeting with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu at the Knevichi airfield near Vladivostok. During this meeting, Shoigu presented the Russian MiG-31I missile carrier, equipped with the Kinzhal hypersonic air-launched missile, to Kim.

The North Korean leader’s interest in advanced weaponry didn’t stop there. He was shown an impressive array of cutting-edge warplanes, including strategic supersonic bombers like the Tu-160, Tu-95, and Tu-22. These bombers, known for their capability to launch cruise missiles, were presented to Kim, showcasing Russia’s military prowess, as mentioned by France 24.

In addition to the bombers, Kim was also introduced to Russia’s fifth-generation stealth jet. His visit to the Russian Marshal Shaposhnikov frigate was another highlight, where he inspected the Su-35 and the Su-57 stealth combat fighter. These interactions indicate a potential interest from North Korea in updating its military arsenal with advanced Russian technology.

However, the visit wasn’t solely about military hardware. Kim’s trip to the Vostochny Cosmodrome space facility hinted at North Korea’s aspirations in space technology. Given Pyongyang’s repeated failures to launch spy satellites this year, experts believe that Kim might be seeking Russian assistance in this domain.

The West is closely watching these developments. There are concerns about a potential arms agreement between Russia and North Korea, which could defy Western sanctions. Such an alliance could alter the geopolitical balance, especially in the Asian region.

As Kim Jong Un waved goodbye from his armored train, the world was left with more questions than answers. What does this visit mean for the future of Russia-North Korea relations? Only time will tell.

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Muzaffar Ahmad Noori Bajwa
Muzaffar Ahmad Noori Bajwa
Editor-in-chief of The Eastern Herald, Political & Foreign Relations Strategist.

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