Posted on September 18, 2023 at 2:17 pm.
After warm handshakes with Vladimir Putin, followed by a welcome and presidential gift of announcements and an exchange of firearms, four days of smiles and visits with Kremlin chief ministers followed. Kim Jong-un, who returned to Pyongyang on his armored train on Sunday evening, sent his “sincere thanks” to his hosts for the trip to the Russian Far East.
The North Korean leader really deserves a wide tour of the franchise. With one priority, from Vostochny to Vladivostok, via Komsomolsk-on-Amur: the Russian military-industrial complex. Although it did not officially result in an agreement between the two countries, the security-focused trip revealed plans for ties and exchanges.
“We see possibilities for cooperation in the aviation industry and in other areas,” enthused Russian Deputy Prime Minister for Industry and Trade Denis Manturov. This Kremlin loyalist, known as a liberal who is used to meeting with the CEOs of European groups who have come to invest in Russia, Renault and Safran in particular, smiled this time next to Kim Jong-un.
A photo taken in the cockpit of the plane shows them laughing and complicit, a highlight of a visit to the aeronautical factories in Komsomolsk-on-Amur. Kim Jong-un, whose father had already visited the site in 2002, specifically inspected the production facilities of manufacturer Sukhoi fighter jets and civil transport. He witnessed a flight demonstration of a Su-35 fighter jet. “Today, we stand together in the face of pressure from the collective West,” said local governor Mikhail Dektyarev, who multiplied the honors for his special guest.
Nor is the governor of Vladivostok, the final destination of Kim Jong-un’s trip, ineligible. Russian public television cameras missed nothing of the distinguished guest’s wanderings, especially as he arrived in a black car, with elaborate security, to perform Tchaikovsky’s ballet “Sleeping Beauty.” After the event, Governor Oleg Kozhemiako praised the “development of relations” in the fields of “sports, tourism, culture and trade” between North Korea and the region.
Then he continued his speech: To Kim Jong-un, who met with North Korean students on a university campus and watched an aquatics show at the city’s maritime theater, he brought five explosive drones, a spy drone, a bulletproof vest and “not special clothing. Detectable by thermal cameras. High-profile gifts of military projects between the two countries.
In Vladivostok, the visit was organized by Sergei Shoigu. The defense minister, a close ally of Vladimir Putin, welcomed the North Korean leader at the Knivichy air base to receive a MiG-31 fighter jet and a Kinzhal hypersonic missile system. The two also reviewed Tu-160, Tu-95MS and Tu-22M bombers. Official news agencies of the two countries said that after participating in the warship exercise, they discussed practical ways to strengthen cooperation in the military and defense sectors.
After nineteen months of “special action” in Ukraine, the lack of weapons could push Russia to turn to North Korea. In return, Pyongyang receives technologies from Moscow for its nuclear and ballistic programs. “Both sides can gain something. But it will mainly be about tactical gains,” warns Andrey Kordunov of the Russian Council, a Moscow-based think tank on international issues.
Officially, no contract was signed during the trip. “Nothing is planned to be signed,” assured Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. At the scenes in Vladivostok, smiling and nodding, Kim Jong-un asked about missiles and techniques for launching them from aircraft. For now he left with his hands full of gifts. and promises.
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