Prime News Ghana

North Korea supports Russia's 'sacred fight' against the West - Kim Jong Un tells Vladimir Putin

By Vincent Ashitey
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Kim Jong Un has pledged his support to Russia in what he has described as the "fight against imperialism".

The North Korean leader praised Russia and its president for a fighting a "sacred war" against "hegemonic forces" - thought to be a reference to the West.

"We will always support the decisions of President Putin and the Russian leadership ... and we will be together in the fight against imperialism," Mr Kim told Mr Putin via a translator.

Mr Putin, meanwhile, listed economic cooperation, humanitarian issues and the "situation in the region" among the agenda items for their talks.

It comes after the pair shook hands as they met at the Vostochny Cosmodrome, Russia's biggest domestic space launch centre.

The two leaders are holding talks - their first in person since 2019 - at the site in Siberia.

Mr Putin is believed to be seeking ammunition from heavily militarised North Korea for his invasion of Ukraine - which he has himself compared to the conquests of Russia's former imperialist monarch, Peter the Great.

Experts believe Mr Kim is seeking Russian technical assistance for his efforts to develop military reconnaissance satellites.

The meeting came hours after North Korea fired two ballistic missiles toward the sea, extending a highly provocative run of North Korean weapons testing since the start of 2022.

Mr Putin welcomed Mr Kim, who arrived at the facility in a limousine, having travelled from Pyongyang in his special armoured train with his influential sister Kim Yo Jong.

Pak Thae Song, chairman of North Korea's space science and technology committee, and navy Admiral Kim Myong Sik, who are both linked with North Korean efforts to acquire spy satellites and nuclear-capable ballistic missile submarines, also travelled in the delegation, according to South Korea's Unification Ministry.

Mr Kim and Mr Putin shared a handshake that lasted about 40 seconds following the North Korean leader's arrival, with the Russian president saying he was "very glad to see" him.

During the tour of the space centre, Mr Kim peppered a Russian space official with questions about the rockets.

In August, North Korea's second attempt to launch a reconnaissance satellite failed due to an error in the booster's third stage, according to the country's state-controlled media.

In late May, a North Korean rocket carrying a spy satellite also plunged into the sea soon after lift-off.

Asked whether Russia will help North Korea build satellites, Mr Putin was quoted by Russian state media as saying: "That's why we have come here."

"The DPRK leader shows keen interest in rocket technology. They're trying to develop space, too," he added.