STORY: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un expressed his support for what he called Moscow’s “sacred fight” against Western imperialism, as he met Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday (Septemeber 13).
The pair exchanged a long handshake and warm greetings outside the Vostochny Cosmodrome, Russia’s most modern space rocket launch facility, located in the country’s east.
At the opening of their meeting, Kim spoke of his country’s “unwavering position” to further develop its friendship and ties with Moscow.
“Russia is now in the sacred fight against hegemonic forces, to protect its sovereignty and security interests. We have constantly expressed our full and unconditional support for all the decisions taken by the president and Russian leadership, and I want to assure you that we will always be together with Russia in the fight against imperialism.”
Putin showed Kim around the cosmodrome, including the building where Russia’s latest space booster is assembled.
Earlier, when asked by reporters if Russia would help Kim build satellites, Putin said, quote, “That’s why we came here.”
North Korea failed twice to launch reconnaissance satellites in the past four months.
But the U.S. has warned that an arms trade could be on the table.
Kim’s delegation includes top defense industry and military officials, a sign analysts say suggests an agenda heavy on defense industry cooperation.
Washington and allies are concerned that Pyongyang will supply weapons to Moscow to aid its invasion in Ukraine, though both countries have denied such intentions.
Meanwhile, just an hour before the highly anticipated meeting, North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles, according to South Korean and Japanese authorities.
Analysts say it was the first such launch by the North while Kim was abroad.
And it could imply that Pyongyang is adopting an increasing level of delegation and more refined control systems for its nuclear and missile programs.