North Korea

Kim Jong Un arrives in Russia to meet Putin amid economy, security concerns


The two leaders are set to have ‘negotiations,’ says the Kremlin spokesman.

Kim Jong Un arrives in Russia to meet Putin amid economy, security concerns

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves from a private train as he departs Pyongyang, North Korea, to visit Russia, September 10, 2023, in this image released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency on September 12, 2023.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in Russia’s far east on Tuesday to meet his fellow leader of the authoritarian world, the Russian President Vladimir Putin.

South Korea’s defense ministry confirmed Kim’s arrival in his bulletproof train at the Khasan railway station in Russia’s far east, according to South Korean media, Yonhap Television News on Tuesday. 

The report came just hours after North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency on Tuesday released photos of Kim, accompanied by senior officials from the ruling party, boarding his train to Russia.  


Kim is set to meet Putin during his trip to Russia, most likely in the far eastern city of Vladivostok. But a direct journey to Vladivostok on his armored train is not possible, as the North Korean train is not compatible with Russia’s railway. This necessitates a transit at the Khasan station en route to Vladivostok.

The North Korean leader’s travel route is largely kept secret, but he was most likely to have traveled across the Druzhny Bridge, also known as the Bridge of Friendship, between North Korea and Russia.

The leaders are set to have “negotiations” and attend an “official banquet”, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, according to Russia’s official news agency, Tass, Tuesday. “No press conferences are planned,” Peskov added. 

“As you know, while implementing our relations with our neighbors, including North Korea, the interests of our two countries are important to us, and not warnings from Washington,” Peskov said, according to Tass. “It is the interests of our two countries that we will focus on.”

Kim’s arrival in the far east on early Tuesday came as Pyongyang and Moscow confirmed the North Korean leader’s visit to Russia late Monday. The North’s Korea Central News Agency said that the visit was made at “the invitation of the President of the Russian Federation, Comrade Vladimir Putin.” The Kremlin also confirmed the visit, according to Russia’s official news agency, Tass on Monday. 

Kim and Putin’s last summit in April 2019 also took place in Vladivostok, where the two reinforced their diplomatic ties. The meeting came a mere two months after Kim’s high-stakes nuclear negotiation with the United States collapsed in Hanoi. After the summit, where Putin reiterated Russia’s role as a regime backer, Kim returned to his brinkmanship diplomacy, firing multiple missiles.

The summit could change the dynamics of global security, as arms trade is likely to dominate the agenda. Any ammunition supplies to Russia would prolong its aggression against Ukraine and drag the war into a long-term conflict that further destabilizes Europe. Strained ammunition supplies are currently holding Russia back to advance deeper into Ukrainian territories. 

Any economic support from Russia may also undermine and water down the effects of the international community’s imposed sanctions to force North Korea to denuclearize. On the other hand, a bolstered alliance between Moscow and Pyongyang would reshape the region’s geopolitical dynamics, pulling it further away from the pressure to disarm and non-proliferation.  

Kim is expected to visit Vladivostok, where he would meet Putin. North Korea is seeking diplomatic and economic support to revive its coronavirus and sanctions-hit economy. Almost half of the North Korean people were undernourished between 2020 and 2022, a World Food Program report published in July found. The food shortage in North Korea appears to be spreading, with sources inside the country telling RFA that as many as 30% of farmers in two northern provinces are unable to work on collective farms because they’re weak from hunger.

Edited by Elaine Chan and Mike Firn.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *