Putin and Kim begin talks as Pyongyang rolls out red carpet welcome

Putin and Kim begin talks as Pyongyang rolls out red carpet welcome
# 19 June 2024 10:09 (UTC +04:00)

Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have begun high-level talks in Pyongyang as the two nuclear-armed countries look to deepen defence and economic ties, APA reports citing Al Jazeera.

Putin landed in the North Korean capital before dawn on Wednesday morning where Kim was waiting to greet him despite the early hour. The two men shook hands and hugged while a woman in a traditional Korean hanbok presented Putin with a bouquet of red roses. The North Korean leader then joined Putin in his limousine as they travelled together in a motorcade, along streets decorated with the Russian flag and portraits of the Russian leader, to the Kumsusan State Guest House.

The two men were later shown at an official welcoming ceremony in Kim Il Sung Square, with rows of soldiers standing to attention and crowds of people on the square itself, which had been decorated with banners and balloons.

As talks got under way, Putin said Russia was fighting against the decades-long “hegemonic and imperialist policy” of the United States and its allies, according to Russia’s state-run news agency RIA Novosti. He also told Kim that he appreciated North Korean support for Russian policy including in Ukraine, where Putin ordered a full-scale invasion in February 2022.

North Korea’s state news agency KCNA, meanwhile, described the two leaders’ meeting as a historic event that showed the “invincibility and durability” of the friendship and unity between North Korea and Russia. The two countries’ relations had “emerged as a strong strategic fortress for preserving international justice, peace and security and an engine for accelerating the building of a new multi-polar world”, it added.

Putin and Kim last met in eastern Russia in September 2023.

Putin is being accompanied by several top officials, including Defence Minister Andrei Belousov, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Deputy Prime Minister Denis Mantrurov. His foreign policy adviser, Yuri Ushakov, said several documents would be signed during the visit, possibly including an agreement on a comprehensive strategic partnership.

The visit includes a gala concert, a state reception and the laying of a wreath at the Liberation Monument, dedicated to the Red Army soldiers who helped liberate Korea during World War II, according to RIA.

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