A high-takes meeting is on the horizon as the North Korean leader announces his plans to visit the Kremlin this month.

In a development that has raised concerns and drawn international attention, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is reportedly planning to visit Russia this month to meet with President Vladimir Putin. The purpose of this high-stakes meeting is rumored to be centered around discussions of military equipment supply to Russia for its involvement in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. A United States official, speaking anonymously, shared this sensitive information to AP News on Monday.

While the exact details of the meeting are yet to be confirmed, it is believed that Kim Jong Un will undertake a rare international trip from Pyongyang to Vladivostok, a Pacific port city in Russia. This journey may include the use of an armored train, a mode of transportation famously preferred by his father, the late Kim Jong Il, during his diplomatic engagements.

The Deal on the Table: Artillery Shells for Advanced Technology

The potential deal being discussed during the meeting is nothing short of remarkable.

Kim is rumored to be considering supplying Russia with artillery shells and anti-tank missiles in exchange for Moscow’s advanced technology, particularly satellites and nuclear-powered submarines.

It is worth noting that these negotiations are taking place when the United States has expressed concerns over the increasing military ties between North Korea and Russia.

National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson emphasized the United States stance, stating: “We have information that Kim Jong Un expects these discussions to continue, to include leader-level diplomatic engagement in Russia.”

She also urged North Korea to “cease its arms negotiations with Russia and abide by the public commitments that Pyongyang has made to not provide or sell arms to Russia.”

Shoigu’s Diplomatic Efforts and Hints of Joint Exercises

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who recently visited Pyongyang, has been actively engaged in the effort to persuade North Korea to sell artillery ammunition to Russia. Additionally, he hinted at the possibility of joint military exercises between the two countries, indicating a desire for closer military ties.

The news of Kim’s planned visit to Russia comes when the United States, South Korea, and Japan strengthen their alliances and display military power in the region. Experts suggest that Kim’s primary goal in such a meeting is to demonstrate international backing, as well as to potentially secure arms sales or economic aid.

Andrei Lankov, a North Korea expert at Seoul’s Kookmin University, opined, “He wants to show he has friends.” He also noted that the current discussions could lead to increased North Korean workers in Russia and some level of military cooperation.

However, the value and impact of any potential deal remain subject to debate. Lankov emphasized, “Without the Ukraine war, Russia would not care about North Korea.” This geopolitical move, he suggests, is primarily aimed at sending a signal to Washington, asserting Russia’s capability to create additional challenges for the United States in East Asia.

Kim’s Strategic Choice: Russia Over China

This potential visit is noteworthy not only for its timing but also for the choice of Russia as the destination. While Kim’s traditional ally and trade partner, China, would have been a more expected choice, this move demonstrates the North Korean leader’s desire to diversify his international engagements. It would be his first overseas trip since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

South Korea’s foreign ministry has closely monitored these developments and emphasized the importance of adhering to international sanctions, particularly regarding military cooperation with North Korea.

North Korea Russia relations
(Image source: Twitter)

The Kremlin, on the other hand, has expressed its intent to deepen its “mutually respectful relations” with North Korea, a historical Cold War ally and one of the few countries to support Russia’s annexation of parts of Ukraine in 2022. The possibility of Kim’s visit to Moscow underscores the evolving dynamics in the region.

US Concerns and Sanctions Amidst Escalating Diplomacy

In the midst of these diplomatic maneuvers, the United States has voiced concerns over the advancing arms negotiations between Russia and North Korea. The recent exchange of letters between Putin and Kim, following Shoigu’s visit to North Korea, suggests that these talks are progressing, albeit at a surface level, according to the White House. The United States recently imposed sanctions on entities allegedly linked to arms deals between North Korea and Russia.

As the international community watches closely, the outcome of this potential meeting between Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin remains uncertain. It can potentially reshape geopolitical dynamics in the region and may hold far-reaching implications for the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. The eyes of the world are now fixed on the Pacific port city of Vladivostok, where these critical discussions may soon occur.