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Putin’s North Korea Visit Highlights Growing Alliance Amid Ukraine Conflict

Putin's North Korea Visit

Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to visit North Korea on Tuesday and Wednesday, highlighting the growing partnership between Moscow and the reclusive nuclear-armed state. This visit comes at the invitation of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who extended the invitation during his visit to Russia’s Far East last September. Putin’s last visit to Pyongyang was in July 2000.

Following his visit to North Korea, Putin will travel to Vietnam from June 19 to 20. These visits were anticipated, although the specific dates were not previously announced. Russia has actively promoted its renewed relationship with North Korea, especially since the onset of the war in Ukraine. This closer alliance has raised concerns among the United States and its allies in Europe and Asia.

The United States has accused North Korea of supplying weapons to Russia to aid its efforts in Ukraine, a claim that Pyongyang denies. UN monitors reported that a ballistic missile fired from Russia at a Ukrainian city in January was manufactured in North Korea.

Ukrainian officials claim that around 50 such missiles have been delivered to Russia by North Korea. For Putin, engaging with Kim Jong Un is a strategic move to challenge Washington and its Asian allies.

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Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul, remarked that this visit enhances North Korea’s status among countries opposing the U.S.-led international order and bolsters Kim’s domestic legitimacy.

South Korea’s vice foreign minister, Kim Hong-kyun, discussed Putin’s planned visit to the north in an emergency phone call with the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell. The South Korean foreign ministry emphasised that the visit should not lead to increased military cooperation between Pyongyang and Moscow, violating U.N. resolutions.

In response, Russia asserted that it would develop relations with North Korea as it sees fit, without interference from other countries, especially the United States.

With Inputs From Reuters