Vladimir Putin Visits North Korea Amid Growing Military Ties

Putin's visit to North Korea raises concerns in the West

by Faruk Imamovic
Vladimir Putin Visits North Korea Amid Growing Military Ties
© Getty Images/Carl Court

On a Tuesday, Vladimir Putin landed in North Korea, marking his first visit to the neighboring country in nearly a quarter century. According to the Kremlin, this trip comes at a crucial time, intensifying Western concerns about a growing military camaraderie between Moscow and Pyongyang.

This visit, described by Russian officials as a "friendly state visit," spans June 18-19 and signifies an increasing consolidation of relations with North Korea under Kim Jong-un's regime. This trip not only underlines the strengthening alliance between the two countries but also highlights their mutual intent to counteract Western influence.

Strategic Meetings and Shared Goals

Putin's agenda includes a series of meetings with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, their second encounter in less than nine months. These discussions are pivotal, and centered on deepening the bilateral relations between the two nations.

Their collaboration is particularly fueled by a shared objective to confront Western policies and Russia's ongoing need for support in its conflict in Ukraine. In an assertive tone, Putin authored an article for North Korea's Rodong Sinmun newspaper, acknowledging North Korea's staunch support for Russia amid the Ukrainian conflict.

He touted the readiness of both countries to counter what he termed the "ambition of the collective West." The Russian leader outlined their strategy to develop trade and financial systems independent of Western control, aiming to bolster their alliance further against external economic pressures and military threats.

Western Concerns and Global Reactions

Amid these developments, the White House expressed its unease regarding the escalating partnership between Russia and North Korea. John Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council, clarified that while Putin's visit per se does not perturb the U.S., there is significant apprehension about the deeper connections being forged between the two states.

In the backdrop of these diplomatic moves, North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un has seemingly ramped up his military assertiveness. A week before Putin's visit, Kim toured several munitions factories, showcasing an arsenal brimming with ballistic missiles, hinting at an uptick in military production.

This display of military might comes at a time when North Korea is accused of providing arms support to Russia in exchange for essential resources and technological aid in military and space ventures. Such accusations have been firmly rejected by both Moscow and Pyongyang, yet they've drawn sharp criticism from global entities like the G7, which recently condemned the escalating military cooperation between the two countries.

Vladimir Putin