Vladimir Putin said Russia was building “good relations with good neighbors” with North Korea on the fourth day of Kim Jong Un’s long visit, amid warnings from the West that Moscow should not break international sanctions targeting Pyongyang.
“Korea is our neighbor. One way or another, we have to build good relations with our neighbors, good neighbors,” Putin told a press conference after Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko on Friday.
“Yes, there are some specialties [circumstances] Related to the Korean Peninsula, we are discussing this, openly discussing it,” Putin said, adding that Russia “does not violate anything, we are not going to violate anything in this matter.”
His comments came after Kremlin officials spoke of channels of cooperation between Moscow and the secretive state, which is the target of several international sanctions. The national security advisers of the United States, South Korea and Japan jointly warned on Thursday about North Korea and Russia’s violation of international sanctions.
Russian state media reported that Kim visited an aircraft factory in the eastern city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur on Friday. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Denis Mandurov said after the tour that Moscow “saw the possibility of cooperation in aircraft production and other industries” with North Korea, a Russian government press release said on its Telegram channel on Friday.
“We see the potential for cooperation in aircraft manufacturing and other industries – it is very relevant to achieve the tasks our countries face to achieve technological sovereignty,” he said.
The facility is the country’s largest aircraft manufacturing plant and builds and manufactures fighter jets for the Ministry of Defence. Su-35S and Su-57 fighter jets, state media TASS reported. Kim’s late father, Kim Jong Il, visited the plant in 2002.
According to Russian state media RIA Novosti, the images show Kim and his delegation and the interior of a fighter jet at the Yuri Gagarin Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Plant (KnAAZ), named after the famous Russian cosmonaut.
Kim was accompanied on the tour by city mayor Alexander Zornik and Khabarovsk Region governor Mikhail Dektyarev.
The North Korean leader is expected to visit the port city of Vladivostok, where he will see the military capabilities of Russia’s Pacific Fleet, Russian President Vladimir Putin told state news agency Russia 1.
The tour of key sites in the Russian Far East region comes after Putin previously said Russia was considering Discusses some military cooperation Following the summit, Kim appeared to back Moscow’s war on Ukraine with North Korea.
Wednesday’s five-hour meeting at the Vostochny Cosmodrome signaled closer ties between the two countries, both of which face international isolation — from Moscow over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program for its invasion of Ukraine and Pyongyang.
The Kremlin said Thursday that Putin had accepted Kim’s invitation to visit North Korea, and that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov would also visit the country in October, according to spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s private train was spotted at the Komsomolsk-on-Amur railway station in the Russian Far East on September 15.
Asked whether the two leaders discussed military and technical cooperation during the talks, Peskov said it was a “sensitive sphere of cooperation” and reiterated Moscow’s commitment to further developing ties with Pyongyang.
Later on Friday, Peskov said that “no agreements were signed” between the two countries during the visit.
Efforts to express that close relationship were on full display during the summit. Peskov said Putin also presented Kim with a spacesuit glove and a high-quality domestically produced carbine – a type of rifle – designed by North Korean craftsmen.
At a state dinner with Putin on Wednesday, Kim promised to establish a “new era of 100-year friendship” between the two countries.
Weeks before the summit, US officials warned that Russia and North Korea were “actively moving forward” on a potential arms deal that could see them provide weapons for use in Moscow’s faltering war in Ukraine in exchange for sanctioned ballistic missile technology.
Putin was asked if he discussed military-technical cooperation with Kim during the leaders’ meeting. In response, Putin acknowledged that there were some restrictions and said that Moscow would fully comply with them. But he said there were areas open for discussion and consideration and suggested possible points of cooperation.
Kim Jong Un’s motorcade departs from Komsomolsk railway station.
“I am confident that the Russian people and its military will win the fight to punish the evil forces that pursue hegemony and expansionism,” Kim said before toasting at a state dinner with Putin.
Without naming Ukraine, Kim said “the Russian military and its people will inherit a shining legacy of victory” and prove their reputation on the front lines of “military operations.”
“I will always stand with Russia,” Kim said, praising Moscow for “standing up against hegemonic powers” to defend its sovereignty and security, an implicit reference to the United States and the West.
In return, Putin expressed his willingness to help develop North Korea’s space and satellite program.
On Thursday, a Ukrainian presidential adviser called the talks “a manifestation of impotence” and said Ukraine was “taking the actions of Moscow and Pyongyang very seriously and making its own calculations.”
“Moscow’s begging for help from North Korea is certainly a source of jokes, an expression of Russia’s impotence and a judgment on Putin’s 23-year policy,” said Mykhailo Podoliak, adviser to the head of Ukraine’s presidential office. Formerly known as Twitter.
Military cooperation between Russia and North Korea is not new, Ukraine’s defense intelligence service said on Wednesday. Ukrainian authorities are already aware of Russian requests for artillery and MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket Systems) projectiles, Andriy Yusov, a representative of defense intelligence, told Ukrainian state media in an interview.
“We cannot ignore this. Unfortunately this will be felt as an important factor on the battlefield, but in this scenario it is not news. This is a scenario, a reaction that Ukraine will act on,” Yusov said.
“We have long confirmed that weapons supplied by North Korea were used by Russia on the Ukraine battlefield,” an official in South Korea’s presidential office said when asked at a background briefing whether North Korea was supplying rockets to Moscow.
The Biden administration believes North Korea supplied anti-personnel rockets and missiles for use in Ukraine by Russian mercenary Wagner last year.
Meanwhile, the national security advisers of the United States, South Korea and Japan said in a Thursday statement released by South Korea’s presidential office that there would be “clear consequences” if Russia or North Korea breached their obligations. Under United Nations Security Council resolutions and sanctions, particularly those related to arms trade and military cooperation.
“Despite repeated warnings by the international community, the three countries expressed serious concerns about the discussions between the two leaders covering topics related to military cooperation, including the development of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs),” the statement said.