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The rare trip by Kim to Russia is expected to center on Putin obtaining more weapons for the war with Ukraine, such as artillery shells and anti-tank missiles, and Kim looking to gain access to Russian nuclear technology and food supplies.
Kim was met by officials and a military band in Khasan, Russia, after traveling on a train known for its security, slow speed, and luxury amenities, according to Reuters. A video posted by Russian state media shows Kim getting off a green train in the eastern Russian train station early Tuesday morning before the military band started playing.
Putin and Kim will have an “intensive exchange of opinions on the situation in the region,” according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov.
“Naturally, being neighbors, our countries cooperate in certain sensitive spheres which should not be publicly revealed or announced,” he said.
The White House has opposed any arms sales between the two nations, threatening sanctions if they do agree to weapons sales or trades.
“Arms discussions between Russia and [North Korea] are expected to continue during Kim Jong Un’s trip to Russia,” White House National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said. “We urge the (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) to abide by the public commitments that Pyongyang has made to not provide or sell arms to Russia.”
State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said that “any transfer of arms from North Korea to Russia would be a violation of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions,” adding that the U.S. would implement new sanctions if weapons were transferred.
Russia and North Korea have aligned themselves in recent years, with Russia opposing U.S.-backed U.N. sanctions on North Korea, and North Korea recognizing the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk, contested areas in eastern Ukraine that are a focal point of the Russia-Ukraine war.
Previous intelligence about possible arms transactions that made the media rounds last year led both nations to issue denials. Meanwhile, the U.S. has approved more than $110 billion in aid to Ukraine as its defenders keep up the fight to try and fend off Russian forces who invaded the country over a year and a half ago.
Kim has left North Korea only seven times since taking power back in 2011.