North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Saturday (September 16) arrived in Russia’s far eastern port of Vladivostok and inspected nuclear-capable bombers and warplanes.
After arriving in the city of Artyom by train, Kim traveled to an airport just outside the seaside city of Vladivostok where Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and other senior military officials gave him an up-close look at Russia's strategic bombers and other warplanes.
Kim’s visit to Russia has sparked Western concerns about an arms alliance to aid Russian President Vladimir Putin in the war against Ukraine. Kim’s visit to Russia comes amid a momentum in military cooperation between the countries in which North Korea could trade munitions in exchange for Russian technologies to advance his military nuclear programme.
Kim was expected to see Russian naval ships of the country's Pacific fleet later in Vladivostok, which triggered another speculation regarding what he aims to do in Russia. Kim also visited a factory manufacturing advanced Russian warplanes on Friday.
In recent months, Kim has stressed on the necessity to boost his navy aiming to counter the advanced naval assets of the United States which has been expanding its combined military exercises with South Korea to keep a check on the North’s growing threat.
According to the analysts, the North Korean leader’s focus on strengthening the navy could be due to the ambitions to procure sophisticated technologies for ballistic missile submarines and nuclear-propelled submarines.
Governor of Russia’s Primorsky region, Oleg Kozhemyako, announced Kim’s arrival in the city of Artyom, about 40 kilometres northeast of Vladivostok.
After arriving in Artyom, Kim travelled to the Vladivostok airport just outside the city where he was shown Russia's nuclear-capable strategic bombers and a lineup of other warplanes by Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and other military officials.
Shoigu also presented to Kim Russia's latest missile, the hypersonic Kinzhal, which is carried by the MiG-31 fighter jet.
Kim's trip to Russia, his first since April 2019 when he met Putin in Vladivostok, came days after he attended a ceremony at a North Korean military shipyard where the country unveiled a purported nuclear attack submarine.
State media claimed it is capable of launching tactical nuclear weapons from underwater.
(With AP inputs)