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Putin and Kim Jong-un, Autocrats Brought Closer by War, Meet in Pyongyang

Putin and Kim Jong-un, Autocrats Brought Closer by War, Meet in Pyongyang


President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia ​met with North Korea’s chief, Kim Jong-un, in his first go to to the nation in almost a quarter-century on​ Wednesday, as the 2 autocrats vowed to construct a joint entrance in opposition to ​the United States and ​deepen bilateral ties that Washington fears will embrace extra arms commerce.

Mr. Putin is the primary main head of state to go to North Korea because the pandemic, highlighting ​its significance to Russia: It is likely one of the few​ like-minded international locations ready and keen to produce Moscow with badly wanted standard weapons for its warfare in Ukraine.

Mr. Kim gave Mr. Putin a red-carpet welcome early Wednesday in Pyongyang, the North’s capital. His energy-starved authorities flooded downtown Pyongyang with brilliant lights as the 2 leaders have been pushed in the identical automobile — the Russian-made Aurus limousine that Mr. Putin gave Mr. Kim final yr — to the state guesthouse​.

Mr. Putin’s warfare in Ukraine has introduced the 2 leaders nearer than ever earlier than, and so they have been anticipated to carry talks on Wednesday earlier than Mr. Putin strikes on to Vietnam.

Mr. Putin has acquired artillery shells and missiles from North Korea to assist gasoline his drawn-out warfare in Ukraine, and he’s broadly anticipated to hunt extra of them on this journey. ​For his half, Mr. Kim ​covets Russian ​assist in eas​ing his nation’s oil shortages, improv​ing its weapons methods and ​undermining Washington’s ​makes an attempt to strangle its economic system with worldwide sanctions.

The Putin-Kim alliance has alarmed Washington and its allies, notably South Korea, as a result of it threatens to undermine their efforts to curb North Korea’s nuclear and missile packages. It additionally presents a risk to the worldwide push for the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons. Moscow as soon as joined the United States in imposing United Nations sanctions on international locations like North Korea and Iran over their nuclear packages, however these days appear to be over.

“I don’t assume he’ll ever signal as much as that once more,” stated Michael A. McFaul, a former U.S. ambassador to Russia and the director of Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, referring to Mr. Putin. “I feel he’s determined we’re the enemy, the liberal worldwide order that the United States anchors is over, and he desires to see its destruction.”

Weeks earlier than Mr. Putin’s journey, Moscow used its veto energy on the U.N. Security Council to disband a panel of U.N. specialists that helped to implement sanctions aimed toward making it harder for North Korea to develop its nuclear arsenal.

In a column printed in Rodong Sinmun, the North’s principal state-run newspaper, on the eve of his arrival, Mr. Putin denounced the United States’ “worldwide neocolonialist dictatorship” and lauded Mr. Kim for resisting “the U.S. financial strain, provocation, blackmail and navy threats.”

North Korea’s economic system has been devastated by sanctions, and Mr. Kim is intent on capitalizing on the partnership with Mr. Putin. The North’s official Korean Central News Agency on Wednesday referred to as the deepening ties between the 2 leaders “an engine for accelerating the constructing of a brand new multipolar world.” Rodong stated the 2 nations have been “in the identical trench” within the battle in opposition to Washington and its allies.

Mr. Putin’s go to to North Korea “demonstrates that our safety just isn’t regional. It’s international,” NATO’s secretary basic, Jens Stoltenberg, stated in Washington on Tuesday at a joint information convention with Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken.

“What occurs in Europe issues for Asia, and what occurs in Asia issues for us,” Mr. Stoltenberg stated. “This is clearly demonstrated in Ukraine, the place Iran, North Korea, China are propping up, fueling Russia’s warfare of aggression in opposition to Ukraine.”

Analysts have been intently watching to see how a lot — and what sorts of — navy and financial help Mr. Kim would possibly get from Mr. Putin.

“He’s not simply going to present away all of the issues that Putin desires for nothing, and I fear that this would be the starting of navy help that can result in, , a modernization of” North Korea’s weapons methods, reminiscent of launch automobiles for nuclear weapons, Mr. McFaul stated. “I worry that now all bets might be off, and that is one space the place Russia has actual capabilities that would make the North Korean military-industrial advanced stronger.”

North Korea’s navy has lengthy been ridiculed for its backward applied sciences and huge stockpile of outdated Soviet-era weaponry, reminiscent of artillery shells. But the truth that Mr. Putin was visiting Pyongyang for the primary time since 2000 demonstrated how such old style munitions are amongst people who Russia most desperately wants in its warfare of attrition in Ukraine.

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