Kim headed back to N Korea; here are top 10 events from his Russia visit
Kim Jong Un's first overseas trip in over four years involved meetings with President Putin and visits to key military and technology sites
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un concluded his six-day trip to Russia on Sunday (September 17), sparking concerns about weapons transfer deals between the two countries engaged in separate standoffs with the West.
Kim's armored train departed amid the sound of the Russian patriotic march song “Farewell of Slavianka” after a farewell ceremony at a railway station in Artyom, a far eastern Russian city, approximately 200 kilometers (124 miles) from the North Korean border.
Senior officials, including Russia's Minister of Natural Resources Alexander Kozlov and Primorye regional Gov. Oleg Kozhemyako, attended the ceremony, featuring a Russian military band playing both North Korean and Russian national anthems.
Kim's first overseas trip in over four years involved meetings with President Vladimir Putin and visits to key military and technology sites, highlighting deepening defense cooperation between North Korea and Russia in the face of Western confrontations.
U.S. and South Korean officials have expressed concerns about North Korea potentially supplying munitions to aid Moscow's war on Ukraine in exchange for advanced Russian weapons technology to further Kim's nuclear ambitions.
UN Security Council resolutions, previously endorsed by Russia, prohibit North Korea from exporting or importing arms.
Observers note Russia's alleged attempts to acquire ammunition and artillery shells from North Korea as an indication of Moscow's desperation to replenish its arsenal depleted in the Ukraine conflict.
Experts suggest North Korea would seek Russian economic and food aid and technology transfers to build powerful missiles, a nuclear-propelled submarine, and a spy satellite in exchange for supplying conventional arms to Russia.
Here are top 10 events from Kim’s visit to Russia:
1. Kim enjoyed a lighter moment on Sunday, touring a university and attending a walrus show at a Russian aquarium. Videos released by Russian state media show Kim conversing with Russian officials through translators at the Far Eastern Federal University in Russky Island.
2. At the Primorsky Aquarium on the island, Kim watched performances featuring beluga whales, bottlenose dolphins, fur seals, and a walrus named "Misha."
3. Primorye Governor Kozhemyako announces a planned delegation from Russia's Far East to visit North Korea, including specialists from trade, tourism, and agriculture sectors. The visit's exact timing is yet to be announced.
4. Kim visited an airport near Vladivostok on Saturday, where Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and other senior military officials provide a close look at Russia's strategic bombers and warplanes.
5. Kim and Shoigu later inspected the Admiral Shaposhnikov frigate in Vladivostok.
6. On Friday, Kim visited an aircraft plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur that produces Russia's most powerful fighter jets.
7. Russian warplanes shown to Kim include the Tu-160, Tu-95, and Tu-22 bombers that have been involved in actions in Ukraine, launching cruise missiles. During Kim's visit, it's revealed that the Tu-160 has received new cruise missiles with a range exceeding 6,500 kilometres (over 4,040 miles). Shoigu also showed Kim another advanced Russian missile, the hypersonic Kinzhal, carried by the MiG-31 fighter jet, which saw combat during the Ukraine conflict.
8. North Korea's state media reports that Kim and Shoigu discussed the regional security environment and strengthened strategic and tactical coordination between the armed forces of both countries.
9. Kim's summit with Putin took place at Russia's main space launch site, indicating his desire for Russian assistance in acquiring space-based reconnaissance assets and missile technologies even as recent North Korean attempts to launch a spy satellite into space ended in failure, with plans for a third attempt in October.
10. During the meeting with Putin, Kim pledged "full and unconditional support" for Russia's security interests, likely referring to the Ukraine conflict. Kim invited Putin to visit North Korea at a convenient time, and Putin accepted.
This marks Kim's second meeting with Putin since taking office in late 2011, with the previous meeting in Vladivostok in April 2019, following the collapse of his nuclear diplomacy with then-U.S. President Donald Trump during their second summit in Vietnam.