Asia - Pacific

Russian president to pay 2nd visit to North Korea in 24 years

Russian, Noth Korean sides will hold several rounds of talks, including private conversation of leaders, with West viewing new ties with suspicion

Elena Teslova  | 18.06.2024 - Update : 18.06.2024
Russian president to pay 2nd visit to North Korea in 24 years A screen grab captured from the video shared by the Kremlin Press Office shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (L) meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) in Vladivostok, Russia on September 13, 2023.


Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday is set to start a two-day state visit to North Korea, the Kremlin said, only his second trip there in 24 years.

The last time Putin visited North Korea was in 2000, when the country was still under the leadership of Kim Jong Il, the father of current leader Kim Jong Un.

During that visit, Putin was warmly welcomed and got special treatment. He was welcomed and bid farewell by Kim directly at the airport, and the two together also laid flowers at a monument to Soviet soldiers who had liberated Korea, although under diplomatic protocol Putin was supposed to do it alone.

Yury Ushakov, an aide to Putin, told reporters on Monday that the visit would last two days, with the main events taking place on the second day.

Putin is expected to arrive in North Korea on Tuesday evening, with the official welcoming ceremony and talks, held at the residence of Kim Jong Un, chairman of the State Council, taking place on Wednesday afternoon, according to Ushakov.

There will be two rounds of negotiations, both in a narrow and extended format, and the most significant and sensitive issues will be discussed during a special event during the visit – a lengthy informal conversation between the two leaders, which will take place while walking around Kim's residence, followed by a tea party.

Russia and North Korea plan to sign several documents following the talks, and Putin and Kim are expected to make a joint statement, said Ushakov.

The agenda of the meeting includes ceremonial events, such as laying a wreath at a monument dedicated to soldiers of the Red Army who liberated Korea during World War II and attending a concert at a sports complex in the capital.

There will also be a formal part of the state reception with speeches exchanged between the two leaders, after which Putin and Kim will travel together to the airport. On the way, they will stop by the only Orthodox church in North Korea, the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity.

Ushakov said Moscow and Pyongyang are working on a new interstate agreement on a comprehensive strategic partnership, but it is unlikely that this will be signed during the current visit.

The treaty reflects the new global geopolitical situation and the changes in relations between the two countries. It will not be aimed at any third country, Ushakov said, although it could potentially affect security issues as well as political and economic matters.

After his trip to North Korea, Putin plans to visit Vietnam, where he will hold talks with several top officials.

Western warnings

The North Korea visit has been met with warnings from the US and South Korea against cooperation between Moscow and Pyongyang to bypass UN sanctions.

Washington and Seoul, which have openly expressed concerns over the rapid development of contacts between Russia and North Korea, have issued further warnings to Moscow, saying the visit should not result in any violation of UN Security Council resolutions prohibiting economic and military cooperation with Pyongyang or the expansion of military ties between the two countries.

Moscow and Pyongyang have strongly denied any illegal military cooperation and stressed that they intend to further strengthen economic cooperation and develop bilateral relations.

"We will continue to move in this direction. The potential for the development of our relations is very great. We believe that our right to build good relations with our neighbors should not cause concern and cannot be disputed," said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

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