SEOUL, South Korea ― North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will soon visit Russia to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russia’s presidency office announced on Monday.
Putin and Kim are expected to discuss North Korean supplies to assist Russia in its ongoing assault on Ukraine. The visit comes as South Korea — a U.S. ally that is still officially at war with its northern cousin — is drawing closer to Washington.
North Korea’s state news agency KCNA also reportedly confirmed the visit.
The Russian presidency’s office did not disclose the exact date of Kim’s one-on-one with Putin, but Associated Press journalists near Russia’s border with North Korea said they saw a train similar to the one used by Kim in previous trips abroad moving back and forth between a bridge connecting the two countries.
Last week, The New York Times reported the two leaders were planning on holding talks, likely in Vladivostok this month, as Moscow is in need of weapons for its war in Ukraine and North Korea is looking for advanced satellite technology and food.
This will be Kim’s first international trip since 2019 when he visited Vladivostok to meet with the Russian president after nuclear talks between the U.S. and North Korea broke down.
The Biden administration has already sounded the alarm over Kim’s upcoming Russia visit.
Vice President Kamala Harris warned a partnership between Putin and Kim would be a “huge mistake.”
“I also believe very strongly that for both Russia and North Korea, this will further isolate them,” Harris told CBS’s “Face the Nation” in an interview broadcast Sunday.
National security adviser Jake Sullivan last week said Pyongyang would “pay a price for this in the international community” if it chose to supply weapons to Russia for use in the battlefield in Ukraine.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu recently visited North Korea to convince Kim to sell the country artillery ammunition. Another group of Russian officials made a trip to Pyongyang to follow up those talks, the White House said.