North Korea's Kim Jong Un vows full support for Russia's 'just fight' after viewing launchpads with Vladimir Putin

North Korea's Kim Jong Un vows full support for Russia's 'just fight' after viewing launchpads with Vladimir Putin

Thursday 14/09/2023
Kim Jong Un says North Korea 'will always stand with Russia on the anti-imperialist front'. (AP: Mikhail Metzel, Sputnik)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has vowed support for Russia's "just fight" during a summit with President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, which the United States warned could lead to a deal to supply ammunition for Moscow's war in Ukraine.

After touring launch pads with Mr Putin at a remote space base in Russia's far east, Mr Kim expressed "full and unconditional support" and said Pyongyang would always stand with Moscow on the "anti-imperialist" front.

The leaders met at the Vostochny Cosmodrome for a summit that underscores how their interests are aligning in the face of their countries' separate, intensifying confrontations with the US.

The talks lasted four to five hours, after which Mr Kim left, Russia's state news agency RIA Novosti reported.

North Korea may have tens of millions of ageing artillery shells and rockets based on Soviet designs that could give a huge boost to the Russian army in Ukraine, analysts say.

The decision to meet at Cosmodrome, Russia's most important launch centre on its own soil, suggests that Mr Kim is seeking Russian help developing military reconnaissance satellites, which he has described as crucial to enhance the threat of his nuclear-capable missiles.

In recent months, North Korea has repeatedly failed to put its first military spy satellite into orbit.

But either buying arms from or providing rocket technology to North Korea would violate international sanctions that Russia has supported in the past.

North Korea 'will always stand with Russia'

Mr Putin welcomed Mr Kim's limousine, brought from Pyongyang in the North Korean leader's special armoured train, at the entrance to the launch facility with a handshake that lasted around 40 seconds.

In his opening remarks, Mr Putin welcomed Mr Kim to Russia and said he was glad to see him, and that their talks would cover economic cooperation, humanitarian issues and the "situation in the region".

Mr Kim, in turn, expressed support for Moscow's efforts to defend its interests, in an apparent reference to the war in Ukraine.

"Russia is currently engaged in a just fight against hegemonic forces to defend its sovereign rights, security and interests," the North Korean leader said.

"I take this opportunity to affirm that we will always stand with Russia on the anti-imperialist front and the front of independence."

The two men began their meeting with a tour of a Soyuz-2 space rocket launch facility, at which Mr Kim peppered a Russian space official with questions about the rockets.

The two leaders then met together with their delegations and later one-on-one, according to Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov.

After the talks, the Russian president threw an official lunch for Mr Kim, Russian state media reported. The menu included duck and fig salad, crab dumplings, sturgeon and beef with a choice of Russian wines, according to Kremlin reporters.

Story by: AP/Reuters

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