North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is reportedly planning a rare overseas trip to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
According to senior U.S. officials, the meeting is set to take place later this month and will focus on weapons negotiations. The venue for the talks is likely to be Vladivostok, a Russian port city near North Korea’s border, where the two leaders had met previously in 2019.
The agenda for the meeting is multifaceted. Putin is looking to acquire artillery shells and anti-tank missiles to bolster Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine. On the other hand, Kim Jong Un is interested in gaining access to Russia’s advanced nuclear submarine and satellite technology, as well as securing food aid for North Korea’s population of approximately 26 million.
The meeting comes after a series of diplomatic exchanges between the two countries. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visited Pyongyang in July, showcasing North Korea’s banned ballistic missiles. This visit was followed by delegations from both countries visiting each other, possibly laying the groundwork for the upcoming leader-level talks.
The U.S. government has expressed concern over the meeting. National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson stated that North Korea should cease its arms negotiations with Russia and abide by its public commitments not to provide or sell arms to Russia. The U.S. has also imposed sanctions to deter such negotiations between the two countries.
In the backdrop of these developments, the U.S. has approved more than $110 billion in aid to Ukraine to counter Russian aggression. The meeting between Kim and Putin raises questions about the effectiveness of international sanctions and poses challenges to U.S. foreign policy.