Home Featured Putin and Kim pledge ‘mutual assistance’ against ‘aggression’ in colorful visit – POLITICO
Putin and Kim pledge ‘mutual assistance’ against ‘aggression’ in colorful visit – POLITICO

Putin and Kim pledge ‘mutual assistance’ against ‘aggression’ in colorful visit – POLITICO

by host

While Putin claimed the treaty was “defensive in nature,” it will no doubt fuel Western concerns that the Kremlin is marshaling authoritarian states such as China, Iran and North Korea to back its war in Ukraine with both rhetoric and materiel.

Concerns have been voiced in recent months that North Korea is supplying Russia with weapons in exchange for economic assistance and technology transfers. Kyiv claimed earlier this year that Russia had used North Korean-made ballistic missiles to attack targets in Ukraine.

Putin’s visit to Pyongyang is his first since 2000. He last met Kim in September in Russia’s Far East, when the North Korean leader offered his country’s “full and unconditional support” for Russia’s war in Ukraine.

In typical North Korean fashion, this week’s trip was a propaganda spectacle. Kim Il Sung Square in downtown Pyongyang, the capital, was draped in Russian and North Korean flags as well as colossal portraits depicting the two leaders. A large crowd clothed in red, white and blue — Russia’s national colors — cheered as Putin and Kim walked the red carpet, accompanied by a brass band playing patriotic Russian songs, according to Russian media.

Russia and North Korea have been bound closer in recent years by the heavy sanctions imposed on both by the international community — Moscow for its war on Ukraine, and Pyongyang for its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program. While most sanctions against Moscow were imposed on the national level, Pyongyang is subject to numerous sanctions enacted by the U.N. Security Council — punishments that Russia previously approved.

Russia has tried to convince the international community in recent years to pare back its measures against North Korea — or has blatantly violated them itself. On Wednesday Putin gifted Kim a car, flouting U.N. sanctions prohibiting the transfer of luxury goods to Pyongyang.

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