Kim and Putin begin talks after meeting at spaceport in Russia's far east: Live updates

Negotiations between Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un have begun, Russian media agency RIA Novosti reported Wednesday.

Talks are taking place at the Vostochny spaceport and will focus on bilateral cooperation, international issues and “sensitive” matters, the Kremlin said.

A RIA Novosti correspondent reported that the leaders will communicate with the participation of delegation members, and, if necessary, will continue to communicate face-to-face.

Putin, when asked what was planned to be discussed, said that he plans to talk about all issues slowly.

— Holly Ellyatt

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin have arrived at Russia’s Vostochny Cosmodrome for talks on Wednesday, Russian media reported.

Russian media showed the leaders greeting each other outside the space rocket launch venue around 1,000 miles from Vladivostok, where Kim initially arrived yesterday.

“Thank you for inviting us despite your busy schedule,” the North Korean leader told Putin, who reportedly replied that their meeting is taking place on dates that are significant for the DPRK, or Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, North Korea’s formal name.

“I am very glad to see you,” Putin said. “Moreover, there were such events: the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Republic, the 70th anniversary of the victory in the Great War of Liberation, the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations,” he added, RIA Novosti reported.

Talks between the two leaders is expected to focus on bilateral cooperation, trade and economic ties as well as international affairs.

In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korea leader Kim Jong Un waves from a train in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Sept. 10, 2023, as he leaves for Russia.


The thorny issue of arms is also expected to be on the agenda, Western officials believe; Russia wants to acquire weaponry for use in its war in Ukraine and North Korea wanting financial assistance and food, and potentially military technology, in return. Both countries deny they are engaging in arms negotiations, and the White House has repeated warnings that any deal will engender further sanctions.

Kim arrived in Russia’s Pacific coast port Vladivostok Tuesday before traveling onwards to the space rocket launch site in Russia’s far east in his customary armored train. RIA Novosti reported that a gangway with a red carpet was brought to Kim’s carriage, on either side of which stood the honor guard of the Eastern Military District with the flags of the two countries. Kim was greeted by Russian officials as he arrived.

— Holly Ellyatt

North Korea fired two ballistic missiles off its east coast, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Japanese Coast Guard said on Wednesday, just hours before leader Kim Jong Un was expected to meet President Vladimir Putin in Russia.

It was the first such launch to occur while Kim was abroad for a rare trip, analysts said.

A man watches a television news screen showing a picture of North Korea’s recent test-firing of a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), at a railway station in Seoul on March 17, 2023.

Jung Yeon-je | Afp | Getty Images

No details on the size or range of the missiles were immediately available. But about five minutes after the first launch warning, Japan’s Coast Guard reported the missile had fallen into the sea.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters that Japan had lodged a protest against North Korea through diplomatic channels in Beijing.

— Reuters

Pictures have emerged of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s arrival in Russia after he traveled by train to speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In this photo taken from video released by governor of the Russian far eastern region of Primorsky Krai Oleg Kozhemyako telegram channel on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023, North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un, right, steps down from his train after crossing the border to Russia at Khasan, about 127 km (79 miles) south of Vladivostok.


The leader of North Korea arrived in Russia earlier Tuesday, according to Russian state media reports.

In this photo taken from video released by governor of the Russian far eastern region of Primorsky Krai Oleg Kozhemyako telegram channel on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023, North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un, left, gestures as he speaks to Russian Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology Alexander Kozlov, right, after crossing the border to Russia at Khasan, about 127 km (79 miles) south of Vladivostok. 


It was reported by the Associated Press that Kim Jong Un met with Russian Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology Alexander Kozlov upon his arrival in Khasan, which is around 79 miles (127 kilometers) south of Vladivostok and lies on the border between Russia and North Korea.

The photos were released by the governor of the Russian far eastern region of Primorsky Krai, Oleg Kozhemyako, via Telegram, AP reported.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) talks to Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu (R) during the annual Navy Day Parade on July 30, 2023, in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Contributor | Getty Images

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu will participate in negotiations between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Russian president’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday.

A separate meeting of Russian and North Korean defense ministers is not expected during the visit of the country’s leader Kim Jong-un to Russia, Peskov added, RIA Novosti reported.

The presence of Shoigu is bound to fuel Western concern that the talks between Putin and Kim will focus on North Korea giving weaponry to Russia in return for food and financial aid, and possibly, military technology. Russia and North Korea insist they have not discussed arms deals.

— Holly Ellyatt

As the leaders of North Korea and Russia prepare to meet in Russia’s Far East, deepening military, economic and geopolitical cooperation is on the official agenda.

Behind closed doors, however, White House officials and political analysts believe the talks between Kim Yong Un and Vladimir Putin will focus on arms deals and military cooperation that could potentially take their relationship to another, more disconcerting, level.

There are concerns that Pyongyang could provide weaponry to Russia for use in its war in Ukraine, including millions of artillery shells, rockets, anti-tank missiles and small arms ammunition. There are also fears about what Moscow might offer the economically isolated and heavily sanctioned North Korea in return.

North Korea leader Kim Jong Un (L) attends a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) in Vladivostok, Russia, on April, 25, 2019.

Kremlin | Handout | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Any deal between the two powers is expected to go beyond weaponry, with experts noting that this burgeoning “transactional” relationship could see advanced military technology and intelligence shared with Pyongyang — which could enable it to further that nuclear program and weapons of mass destruction.

Russia and North Korea continue to deny any arms deals have taken place and the Kremlin said Tuesday morning that it’s not interested in Washington’s warnings over the forthcoming meeting.

Experts say there’s little the West can do to stop Russia and North Korea making “life difficult for the U.S. and its partners” given that it has “few efficacious tools with which to respond to the emerging axis.”

Read more on the story here: With Putin and Kim Jong Un set to meet, the West fears what Russia and North Korea are planning

— Holly Ellyatt

Russia dismissed warnings from the White House on Monday that any arms deal between Moscow and North Korea would trigger immediate further sanctions.

The White House has warned in recent weeks that arms negotiations between North Korea and Russia have been “actively advancing,” saying Moscow aims to buy weaponry from Pyongyang for use in the Ukraine war.

U.S. officials are sure that those arms talks will continue when North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet in the coming days in Vladivostok in Russia’s Far East.

The U.S. repeated warnings to North Korea on Monday not to send arms to Russia, reiterating that any arms deal or military support for Russia’s war in Ukraine would directly violate a number of U.N. Security Council resolutions, such as the prohibition of all weapons trade with the country. It said it’s ready to impose more sanctions against North Korea if there is a deal.

The Kremlin’s Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov dismissed the U.S.’ warnings, however, telling reporters that Moscow and Pyongyang are guided by the interests of bilateral relations and are not interested in “warnings from Washington,” state news agency Tass reported Tuesday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un held talks in 2019.

Alexander Zemlianichenko | Afp | Getty Images

“As you know, after all, realizing our relations with our neighbors, including North Korea, the interests of our two countries are important for us, and not warnings from Washington. It is the interests of our two countries that we will focus on,” Peskov said.

He noted that the Russian Federation is ready, if necessary, to discuss with the DPRK issues related to the sanctions of the UN Security Council.”

Peskov said the leaders would discuss issues of bilateral cooperation between Russia and Pyongyang as well as international affairs and “sensitive areas,” without giving further detail.

“First of all, of course, issues related to bilateral relations, bilateral cooperation, trade and economic ties, cultural exchanges will be discussed. Of course, there will be a rich exchange of views on the situation in the region and on international affairs in general, because this is of interest both to Putin and to our guest from Pyongyang,” Tass reported Peskov as saying.

— Holly Ellyatt

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