Kim Jong Un Pledges Full Support to Putin and Russia During Cosmodrome Summit

Kim Jong Un Pledges Full Support to Putin and Russia During Cosmodrome Summit


Historic Visit, War and Space

During the first meeting in over four years between the autocratic leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, and President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, Kim vowed that Russia would receive his “full and unconditional support” in its “sacred fight” against the West and highlighted the importance of the visit in terms of strategic and economic closeness of the two states. Taking place in the Vostochny Cosmodrome (Eastern Spaceport) in the far east of Russia in the Amur region, the meeting between the two lasted over four hours and clearly acted as a sign of the solidification of relations between the two governments. Military matters and space technology seemed to constitute the main topics of conversation. Putin showed Kim around what is considered the most advanced space rocket site in far eastern Russia, and talks even touched on sending an astronaut from North Korea into space. In particular, Kim asked a number of questions about rockets to a Russian official during the tour, showing interest in an area where his space agency has struggled recently. Earlier this year, in May and August, a NK military recon satellite failed to launch both times, the Malligyong-1 #1 and #2, respectively.

Meeting Goals and Speeches

According to Putin, the talks between the two covered economic cooperation, humanitarian issues, and the “situation in the region”. Kim also referenced the Russo-Ukrainian War when speaking on the talks, saying “Russia is currently engaged in a just fight against hegemonic forces to defend its sovereign rights, security, and interests… The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has always expressed its full and unconditional support for all measures taken by the Russian government, and I take this opportunity to reaffirm that we will always stand with Russia on the anti-imperialist front and the front of independence,”. Putin in particular said the purpose of the meeting was partially based on North Korea’s need for help building satellites and noted that Kim had a “keen interest in rocket technology,” while at the same time dodging questions about military cooperation beyond such deals. Kim has expressed the need in the past for these satellites in order to further support North Korean missile capabilities. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Rudenko also reportedly said Russia could discuss humanitarian aid with the delegation of North Korea, a country that is currently going through substantial food shortages this year.

Kim laid praises down during the later part of the meetings while toasting to Russia’s victory in the war. “I firmly believe that the heroic Russian army and people will brilliantly inherit their victories and traditions and vigorously demonstrate their noble dignity and honor on the two fronts of military operations and building a powerful nation,” he said to Putin during the dinner, “The Russian army and people will certainly win a great victory in the sacred struggle for the punishment of a great evil that claims hegemony and feeds an expansionist illusion,” he said raising his glass.

The meeting came only hours after North Korean ballistic missiles were fired into the sea during weapons testing, which has now become a regular occurrence in the region. South Korean military reports said the short-range missiles splashed down 400 miles from where they launched. “We strongly condemn North Korea’s successive ballistic missile launches as a serious act of provocation that undermines the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula as well as the international community, and a clear violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions, and urge that it be stopped immediately,” the South Korean Joint Chiefs said in a statement.

Kim had previously made just seven trips abroad in his 12 years in power, all in 2018 and 2019. He also briefly stepped across the inter-Korean border twice. [Sputnik/Mikhail Metzel/Reuters]
Kim had previously made just seven trips abroad in his 12 years in power, all in 2018 and 2019. He also briefly stepped across the inter-Korean border twice. [Sputnik/Mikhail Metzel/Reuters]
Additional Info

The United States in the past has accused of North Korea of selling ammunition and weapons to both the Russian military and to the mercenary group Wagner, something which both officials from Russia and NK denied. It seems that based on Russia’s doctrine of war so far, their reliance on Soviet-era weapons systems and subsequent ammo and shells could certainly be replenished by production of such equipment by North Korean military factories. Recent military relations between the two are highlighted by the Russian defense minister Shoigu touring NK in July where among other things he attended military presentations which included banned nuclear-capable ballistic missile systems. Following his visit, Kim toured North Korean military production factories where he likely inspected modernization progress of weapons and the export quality of ammunition/shell assembly lines.

Any official sale of weapons or ammo between the countries would violate arms sanctions that Russia has supported in the past.

“No U.N. member state should violate Security Council sanctions against North Korea by engaging in an illegal trade of arms and must certainly not engage in military cooperation with North Korea that undermines the peace and stability of the international community,” said Lim Soo-suk, SK’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson.


Putin told Russian state TV that Kim will visit two more cities in the Far East on his own after the summit, flying to Komsomolsk-on-Amur, where he will visit an aircraft plant, and then go to Vladivostok to view Russia’s Pacific Fleet, a university and other facilities.

Russia and North Korea have “lots of interesting projects” in spheres like transportation and agriculture, Putin said. Moscow is providing its neighbor with humanitarian aid, but there also are opportunities for “working as equals,” he added.

He dodged the issue, however, of military cooperation, saying only that Russia is abiding by the sanctions prohibiting procuring weapons from Pyongyang. “There are certain restrictions, Russia is following all of them. There are things we can talk about, we’re discussing, thinking. Russia is a self-sufficient country, but there are things we can bring attention to, we’re discussing them,” he said.

Kim also brought Jo Chun Ryong, who heads munitions policies and had joined him on tours of factories producing artillery shells and missiles, according to South Korea.

Asked whether Moscow will help North Korea build satellites, Putin was quoted by Russian media as saying “that’s why we have come here. The DPRK leader shows keen interest in rocket technology. They’re trying to develop space, too,” using the acronym for North Korea’s formal name. Asked about military cooperation, Putin said: “We will talk about all issues without a rush. There is time.”

Noting what he called the “laconic” official presentation of the summit’s outcome, Alexander Vorontsov of the Russian Academy of Science’s Institute of Asian Studies was quoted as saying by the Tass news agency that “we can assume that … most of the agreements reached … will remain secret for the time being.”

At their lunch, which reportedly featured regional delicacies such as Kamchatka crab dumplings and taiga lingonberries with pine nuts, Kim said he and Putin agreed to deepen their “strategic and tactical cooperation.”

In his opening remarks, Putin welcomed Kim to Russia and said he was glad to see him, saying the talks would cover economic cooperation, humanitarian issues and the 'situation in the region'. [Sputnik/Vladimir Smirnov/Reuters]
In his opening remarks, Putin welcomed Kim to Russia and said he was glad to see him, saying the talks would cover economic cooperation, humanitarian issues and the ‘situation in the region’. [Sputnik/Vladimir Smirnov/Reuters]
Full transcript of first part of meeting:

Vladimir Putin: Dear Mr. Chairman!

I am very glad to see and welcome you again in Russia – this time, as we agreed, at our Vostochny cosmodrome.

We are proud of how this industry is developing here, and this is our new facility. I hope both you and your delegation find this interesting.

Our meeting is taking place at a special time. Most recently, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea celebrated 75 years of its creation and founding. 75 years of establishing diplomatic relations between our countries. Let me remind you that it was our country that was the first to recognize a sovereign, independent state – the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Then very soon we will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the end of the War of Independence and the victory of the Korean people in this war. This is a significant date because our country also helped our friends in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea fight for this independence.

We, of course, need to talk about issues of economic cooperation, issues of a humanitarian nature, and the situation in the region.

We have a lot of questions. I want to say that I am very glad to see you. Thank you for accepting the invitation and coming to Russia. Welcome!

Kim Jong Un (as interpreted) : I express my gratitude to you for inviting us in a busy time with the government affairs.

Our visit to Russia is taking place at a very important time. The Russian side is hosting our delegation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea with a very warm feeling. From the first moment we arrived on Russian territory, we could feel the sincerity of our Russian friends. And on behalf of the entire Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, I express my gratitude to you and the people of the Russian Federation. And I express my gratitude to you for paying such great attention to our visit to Russia.

We were also able to see with our own eyes the present and future of Russia in building a space power. And we are now holding a meeting with you at a very special time, precisely in the heart of the space power, Russia.

As you said, the Soviet Union played a very big role in the liberation of our country, as well as in our state gaining independence, and our friendship has deep roots. And now for our country the very first priority is relations with the Russian Federation. I am sure that our joint meeting will be another moment to raise our relations to a new level.

As you just said, we have a lot of areas to develop relations, including politics, economics and culture, so that this will help improve the well-being of our peoples.

Now Russia has risen to a sacred struggle to defend its state sovereignty and protect its security in opposition to the hegemonic forces that oppose Russia. And now we want to further develop relations. We have always supported and support all decisions of President Putin, as well as decisions of the Russian Government. I also hope that we will always be together in the struggle against imperialism and for the construction of a sovereign state.

Once again I express my gratitude to you for giving us such an opportunity to visit Russia, and also for paying such great attention.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you.

Second part of meeting:

Vladimir Putin: Dear Comrade Chairman!

Let me once again cordially greet our dear guests, Comrade Kim Jong-un, and all our Korean colleagues.

I remember well when, during our negotiations in 2019, held in Vladivostok, we exchanged views on the development of our relations on the then international agenda. Your current visit is taking place in a truly comradely, friendly, benevolent atmosphere. An extensive agenda, a program that includes visiting not only the Vostochny Cosmodrome, but also other large high-tech clusters, industrial enterprises and innovation centers in the Russian Far East.

This year, Russia and the DPRK are celebrating a significant anniversary – 75 years of diplomatic relations. The Soviet Union was the first to recognize the young Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Our relations were founded during the Korean struggle for freedom in 1945, when Soviet and Korean soldiers shoulder to shoulder defeated the Japanese militarists.

Even today, we strive to strengthen the bonds of camaraderie and good neighborliness, and act in the name of peace, stability and prosperity in our common region.

You, Comrade Kim Jong-un, are firmly and confidently following the course laid down by outstanding statesmen: the founder of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Kim Il-sung, and his successor, Comrade Kim Jong-il. They were sincere and true friends, consistent supporters of building the closest relations and ties between our countries.

There is a proverb in Korea: new clothes are good, but old friends are good. And among our people they say: an old friend is better than two new ones. These folk wisdom are fully applicable to modern relations between our countries.

I would like to propose a toast to the further strengthening of friendship and cooperation between our countries, between the Russian Federation and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, to the well-being and prosperity of our peoples, to the health of Comrade Chairman and all those present.

Kim Jong Un (as interpreted): I am very glad that four years and five months later I had the opportunity to visit the Russian Federation, hold a meeting with President Putin, and now gather in this significant place, filled with a feeling of sincere comradely friendship.

First of all, let me express to you, Comrade Putin, my sincere gratitude for the fact that you kindly invited us, despite being busy and managing all the affairs of the state, you sincerely show us warm hospitality. I also express my gratitude to the people from the [federal] center and from the Far Eastern regions who made great efforts to successfully conduct our visit to Russia.

Taking this opportunity, I convey from the Korean people military honor and warm fraternal greetings to all the Russian people, who have risen to carry out the historical cause of building a strong Russia and to reliably protect the strategic interests of the state.

Comrades, our current visit is taking place at a time when the confrontation between progress and reaction, justice and injustice is fiercely unfolding in the international arena, and the process of multipolarity of the world is vigorously advancing thanks to the common will and the united power of independent forces.

Comrade Putin and I have just discussed in depth the military-political situation on the Korean Peninsula and in Europe and came to a satisfactory consensus on further strengthening strategic and tactical cooperation, support and solidarity in the struggle to protect the sovereign right of security, to create guarantees of lasting peace in the region , and throughout the world. We are confident that the Russian army and people will certainly win a great victory in the sacred fight to punish the gathering of evil that claims hegemony and feeds the expansionist illusion, and to create a stable environment for development.

Expanding and developing Russian-Korean relations of friendship and cooperation not only fully meets the interests of the peoples of the two countries, but is also a requirement of modern times striving for independence. Together with the President [of the Russian Federation], I will build stable, forward-looking Russian-Korean relations for a long time and, on their basis, energetically stimulate the building of a strong state in both countries and implement true international justice.

From the first moment I arrived on Russian soil, I felt the fighting spirit and vibrant reality and became a direct witness to the significant achievements of the Russian people in building a strong modern Russia under the correct leadership of Comrade Putin.

I am deeply convinced that the heroic Russian army and people, brilliantly inheriting the tradition of victory, will confidently demonstrate the priceless virtue of honor on two fronts – a special military operation and building a strong state.

In conclusion, I express my confidence that our current visit will serve as an important moment in the further development and transformation of traditional Korean-Russian friendly relations into unbreakable relations of strategic cooperation.

I propose to raise a glass to the good health of the respected President of the Russian Federation, comrade Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin! For new victories of great Russia, for the continuous development and strengthening of Korean-Russian friendship, for the health of all comrades present here!

Kim had travelled to Russia in a special armored train, following a tradition begun by his predecessors. [Pavel Byrkin/Sputnik/AP Photo]
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