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Kim Jong-un arrives in Russia by armored train What we know so far about the North Korean leader’s first visit to Russia since 2019
North Korea leader Kim Jong-un has arrived in Russia. He crossed into Primorsky Krai by armored train on the morning of September 12. State-owned television channel Rossiya-1 posted footage of the train and noted that it stopped at the Khasan railway station near the border between Russia and North Korea in “absolute secrecy.” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed to Interfax that Kim Jong-un was already in Russia.
Kim Jong-un left Pyongyang by armored train. The Korean Central News Agency, North Korea’s state news agency, published photos of his departure ceremony at the train station in the North Korean capital. Photos taken on September 10 show several branches of the military at the ceremony.
This marks Kim Jong-un’s first known trip abroad since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The country completely closed its borders in the spring of 2020, though it recently lifted its ban on air travel. AP writes that one of the first flights was to Vladivostok on September 12, and allegedly carried part of the North Korean delegation.
There have been no official statements about Kim Jong-un’s exact destination. Media reports about the North Korean leader’s plans to visit Russia emerged in early September. The New York Times’ sources reported that Kim Jong-un is coming to attend the Eastern Economic Forum, which takes place in Vladivostok on September 10-13 and is hosting Russian president Vladimir Putin. Neither the Russian nor the North Korean authorities have posted any specific details about the trip.
Kim Jong-un is scheduled to hold talks with Vladimir Putin, though there have been no public announcements about when the talks are set to take place. On September 12, Kremlin spokesman Peskov said that the talks would happen “in the coming days.” According to Interfax, Peskov also said that the leaders of the two countries would “have a one-on-one conversation,” and that Putin would host a dinner in honor of Kim Jong-un.
The two leaders will likely discuss North Korean weapons supplies to Russia, among other things. According to Western intelligence services, Russia and North Korea are engaged in active negotiations about arms shipments, which the Russian army could use in the war in Ukraine. In July, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu paid an official visit to North Korea. American intelligence said the trip was preparation for negotiations. The U.S. has already reported that it is ready to impose new sanctions if North Korea agrees to provide Russia with weapons. North Korea is likely counting on Russia supplying food and energy resources in return.
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