North Korea’s Kim Jong Un meets Putin in Russia for arms talks: US

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is set to travel to Russia for talks with President Vladimir Putin The White House said Monday that the two U.S. adversaries are continuing to strengthen ties over possible arms sales to support Moscow’s war in Ukraine.

U.S. officials say possible arms sales from North Korea to Russia were discussed during a July visit to Pyongyang by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

National Security Council spokesman Adrian Watson said in a statement, “We have information that Kim Jong Un expects these discussions to continue, including a presidential-level diplomatic engagement in Russia.

The Kremlin said Tuesday it could not confirm the reports. “We have nothing to say on this topic,” spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a news conference.

Watson did not say when or where in Russia Putin might meet with Kim, who is leaving his isolated communist country. Haven’t traveled abroad since before the pandemic. When he travels abroad, the first time he visited Russia in 2019, he usually travels by armored train.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un used to travel abroad by armored train.Nhac Nguyen / AFP via Getty Images file

Watson added that the U.S. is urging North Korea to “cease arms negotiations with Russia and abide by Pyongyang’s public commitments not to supply or sell arms to Russia.”

Opinions of the White House National Security Council a Reported in the New York Times Kim plans to meet Putin in Russia this month – in the Pacific port city of Vladivostok.

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Last week, the White House said arms talks between North Korea and Russia were “progressing vigorously,” and Kim and Putin exchanged letters pledging to increase their cooperation following Shoigu’s visit.

As Russian forces struggle to stop a Ukrainian counteroffensive, artillery shells will be a particular focus, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said. Any arms deal between North Korea and Russia would violate several United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Kirby did not say how the US obtained the classified intelligence. The exchange of letters was reported by North Korean state media last month.

Kim, second from right, and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, third from right, at an arms exhibition in Pyongyang in July.KCNA/AP

Since Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, U.S. officials have routinely released classified intelligence in an effort to prevent North Korea, China and others from secretly sending weapons to Moscow. North Korea and China have denied the US accusations.

With U.S. talks on nuclear weapons and missile programs stalled since 2019, Kim has sought to strengthen his ties with Russia and China, which sent a high-level delegation to Pyongyang in July.

Shoigu said on Monday that Russia and North Korea may hold joint military exercises.

“We are discussing it with everyone, including the DPRK,” he said, using an acronym for North Korea’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. “Why not? They’re our neighbors.”

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