Kim Jong Un’s Armored Train Enters Russia Ahead Of Putin Summit
Kim Jong Un’s heavily armored private train has entered Russia, where he met with officials, in anticipation of a significant summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The U.S. has expressed concerns about a potential arms deal resulting from this meeting.
Kim briefly disembarked at Khasan train station in Russia’s far east, receiving greetings from Russian Natural Resources Minister Alexander Kozlov and the regional governor bordering North Korea. The North Korean state media confirmed this stop.
Following this, Kim is expected to continue his journey to meet Putin elsewhere in Russia’s far east, a significant event that brings together two increasingly isolated leaders on the global stage.
Russia’s need for ammunition and military supplies after 18 months of conflict in Ukraine and North Korea’s desire for various resources make the outcome of this meeting of international significance. The U.S. government has indicated that arms negotiations between Russia and North Korea are progressing, potentially providing North Korea access to weapons that years of United Nations sanctions have denied it, particularly for its nuclear-capable ballistic missile program.
South Korea is closely monitoring the situation regarding potential arms negotiations between North Korea and Russia. Kim’s delegation includes top North Korean officials, including military leaders and diplomats, some of whom are subject to U.S. and UN sanctions.
Although the exact location and timing of the summit have not been disclosed, it is expected to take place in Russia’s Far East region, which borders China, North Korea, and Mongolia. The meeting is expected to focus on bilateral relations and sensitive areas, with a formal dinner planned in honor of Kim’s arrival.
Kim’s trip to Russia is a rare foreign visit for the leader of North Korea, one of the world’s most isolated nations, and his first since the Covid-19 pandemic led to the closure of North Korea’s borders. Kim has only traveled abroad 10 times since taking power in 2011, all in 2018 and 2019, primarily for talks on North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile programs.
Kim’s arrival in Russia is marked by the use of his signature green train, reminiscent of his predecessors, Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, who also preferred traveling in upscale armored trains.
Washington has expressed concerns about the potential outcome of the Kim-Putin meeting, particularly if it results in an arms deal between North Korea and Russia. The U.S. has warned of consequences if such a deal is struck and urged North Korea not to provide arms to Russia.
Despite international sanctions, North Korea has rapidly developed its ballistic missile program in recent years, conducting numerous missile tests, including intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) capable of reaching the U.S. mainland. Access to Russian technology could further enhance North Korea’s capabilities, raising concerns among Western leaders.
In summary, Kim Jong Un’s visit to Russia, where he is meeting with Vladimir Putin, has the potential to significantly impact regional and global dynamics, particularly in terms of arms negotiations and security implications in the context of the Ukraine conflict.