Russia: Kim Jong-un in Russia with military brass amid United States warnings not to sell arms

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un arrived in Russia by private train to the strains of a military band on Tuesday for talks with president Vladimir Putin – amid warnings from Washington they should not trade weapons. Kim left Pyongyang for Russia on Sunday on board his train the North’s state media reported on Tuesday, accompanied by top arms industry and military officials.
A Russian source said Kim had arrived on Tuesday morning, leaving his train to meet Russian officials in Khasan, the rail gateway to Russia’s far east, before continuing on. Alexander Kozlov, Russia’s minister for natural resources, said the two delegations discussed joint tourism, agricultural projects and deeper economic ties.
Kim and Putin are expected to meet at an unspecified location in Russia’s Far East later this week, the Kremlin has said. Speaking in Vladivostok, Putin said he was planning to go to the Vostochny cosmodrome, over 1,500 km to the north. He said he had his own programme, “When I get there, you will know.”
The make-up of Kim’s delegation, including top defence industry and military officials with the notable presence of munitions industry department director Jo Chun Ryong, suggested an agenda heavy on defence industry cooperation, analysts said. Kim could offer artillery rounds from North Korea‘s large stockpile, which could replenish Russia’s capabilities in the short term, but questions about the ammunition’s quality may limit the overall impact, military analysts said.
Washington has expressed concern over closer military ties between Russia and the nuclear-armed North. South Korea said many countries were watching the summit between “North Korea which has been sanctioned by the UN, and Russia, a permanent member of the UNSC”. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, “While implementing relationship with our neighbours, the interests of our two nations are important to us, and not warnings from Washington.”

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