A White House official said on Monday that North Korea’s Kim Jong Un may visit Russia soon to meet with President Vladimir Putin as Moscow seeks to acquire more military equipment for its war in Ukraine, the Associated Press reported.
According to the New York Times, US and allied officials say Putin and Kim will both attend the Eastern Economic Forum at Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok next week. Kim is also planning a visit to Pier 33, where Russia’s Pacific fleet docks.
Last Wednesday, White House spokesman John Kirby warned that high-level talks between Russia and North Korea are “actively advancing, as the two leaders have exchanged correspondence about a possible arms deal.
An unnamed official told the Associated Press confirmed the New York Times reporting, saying that the United States expects Kim to make the trip to Russia sometime this month and Vladivostok is the most likely location given its proximity to North Korea.
In a statement on Monday, National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was in Pyongyang recently trying to persuade the North to sell artillery ammunition to Russia. She said the US has information that Kim expects to continue these discussions, including through “leader-level diplomatic engagement in Russia.”
Watson added that the United States has urged North Korea to abide by its commitment not to sell arms to Russia and stop its arms negotiations with Moscow.
Since the war in Ukraine began, US officials have routinely declassified intelligence aimed at deterring North Korea, China, and other nations from sending weapons to Russia. Both China and North Korea have denied the accusations, NBC News reported.
After talks with the United States stalled in 2019, Kim has sought to bolster his relations with both China and Russia.
On Monday, Sergei Shoigu said Russia may hold joint military drills with North Korea.