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US says Kim Jong-Un seeks ‘leader-level’ talks with Russia on arms deals

Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ride an escalator following their talks at the Far Eastern Federal University campus on Russky island in the far-eastern Russian port of Vladivostok on April 25, 2019. (Alexey Nikolsky/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)
September 05, 2023

The White House National Security Council said Kim Jong-Un expects “leader-level talks” with Russia over providing weapons to support Moscow’s war in Ukraine, following a report the North Korean leader is planning to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin this month.

“As we have warned publicly, arms negotiations between Russia and the DPRK are actively advancing,” National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said in a statement Monday, using the acronym for North Korea.

“We have information that Kim Jong-Un expects these discussions to continue, to include leader-level diplomatic engagement in Russia. We urge the DPRK to cease its arms negotiations with Russia and abide by the public commitments that Pyongyang has made to not provide or sell arms to Russia,” Watson said.

Kim intends to visit Putin later this month to continue their discussions about Pyongyang providing Russia with weapons, the New York Times reported Monday.

The report said Kim would probably travel to Vladivostok in Russia to meet Putin, citing unnamed U.S. and allied officials. Kim could also potentially travel on to Moscow. An advance North Korean team recently traveled to Russia to prepare for the possible visit, according to the report.

Last Wednesday, the U.S. said it had new information that North Korea and Russia were negotiating arms deals that would see the isolated regime provide Putin with munitions and other support for his war in Ukraine.

The two leaders had exchanged letters and Russian officials visited Pyongyang to discuss possible arms deals, according to National Security Council spokesman John Kirby.

“Under these potential deals, Russia would receive significant quantities and multiple types of munitions from the DPRK which the Russian military plans to use in Ukraine,” Kirby said.

Kim in July met Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in the North Korean capital, giving him a tour of a weapons exhibition where nuclear-capable ballistic missiles and drones were on display.

The U.S. for months has accused Russia and the Wagner mercenary group of receiving deliveries of North Korean weapons.


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