Title: North Korea’s Kim Jong Un Set to Visit Russia’s Vladivostok Amidst Speculations
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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s visit to Russia’s Pacific port of Vladivostok is anticipated but not yet confirmed, according to reports. The visit was first reported by the New York Times, citing unidentified U.S. officials and South Korea’s intelligence agency.
The Kremlin has refused to comment on the matter, though President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to speak at an economic forum in Vladivostok. Sources suggest that Kim’s visit is expected in the coming days, and Russia’s Interfax news agency has reported that Kim is due to visit Russia’s far east.
If confirmed, this would be Kim’s first visit abroad in over four years and the first since the COVID pandemic. Vladivostok, located just 130 km from Russia’s border with North Korea, is making preparations for Kim’s visit by increasing security presence. However, unlike the last visit, no North Korean flags have been put up in the city yet.
Some residents in Vladivostok speculate that Kim’s visit is likely due to the economic forum that Putin is attending. The United States has expressed concern about advancing arms negotiations between North Korea and Russia, urging Kim not to supply weapons that could end up in Ukraine.
Analysts speculate that North Korea’s artillery shells, rockets, and small arms ammunition could help Russia replenish its stocks used in the war in Ukraine. In return, Russia might offer grain, oil, and military technology to North Korea. Some residents believe that North Korea and Russia may become closer allies, while not necessarily with the United States.
Both Russia and North Korea have denied accusations of arms deliveries but have promised to deepen defense cooperation. A significant sign of this cooperation was Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu’s visit to Pyongyang in July. Kim’s visit to Russia is seen as significant due to the ongoing changes in Russia.
As speculations continue, all eyes are on Vladivostok, waiting for an official confirmation of Kim Jong Un’s visit and the potential implications it holds for both countries and the international community.