Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un meet in Pyongyang

Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un held a historic summit meeting on Wednesday in Pyongyang, pledging to deepen the strategic partnership between their two countries.

Despite the late hour, Kim greeted Putin with a grand red carpet welcome at the airport, embracing the Russian leader and riding with him in the same limousine to the Kumsusan State Guest House. The two leaders exchanged “pent-up inmost thoughts” during the ride, according to North Korean state media.

The agenda for the day-long visit included an official welcoming ceremony, one-on-one discussions, a gala concert, a state reception, and the signing of several joint documents, including a “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Treaty”. Putin praised North Korea for resisting “U.S. economic pressure, blackmail and threats”, and promised to “develop alternative trade and mutual settlement mechanisms not controlled by the West”.

The visit comes as both Russia and North Korea face international isolation due to their actions – Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. The two countries have grown closer in recent years, with Russia using its ties with North Korea to challenge Washington, while North Korea has gained political backing and economic support from Moscow.

However, the deepening cooperation between the two nations has raised concerns from the United States and its allies. They fear Russia could provide aid for North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs, and accuse Pyongyang of supplying weapons to Russia for use in the Ukraine war. Both Moscow and Pyongyang have denied such weapons transfers.

Overall, Putin’s visit to Pyongyang is seen as a significant event that will further strengthen the Russia-North Korea relationship and reshape decades of their diplomatic ties, as both countries navigate the challenges of international isolation.

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