North Korea’s Kim Discusses Stronger Ties With Russia, State Media Says

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un discussed practical issues in stepping up military cooperation with Russia’s defense minister, state KCNA news agency said Sunday.

During his visit to Russia, Kim inspected Russian nuclear-capable strategic bombers, hypersonic missiles and warships Saturday, accompanied by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

Kim’s trip comes at a time when “a fresh heyday of friendship and solidarity and cooperation is being opened up in the history of the development of the relations between the DPRK and Russia,” KCNA said, using North Korea’s official name.

Kim met Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday and discussed military matters, the war in Ukraine and deepening cooperation.

Kim and Shoigu “exchanged their constructive opinions on the practical issues arising in further strengthening the strategic and tactical coordination, cooperation and mutual exchange between the armed forces of the two countries and in the fields of their national defense and security,” KCNA reported.

Shoigu told Russian media earlier that Moscow is discussing joint military exercises with North Korea.

On Friday, South Korea and the U.S. said military cooperation between North Korea and Russia would violate U.N. sanctions against Pyongyang and that the allies would ensure there was a price to pay.

Russia has gone out of its way to publicize the visit and to drop repeated hints about the prospect of military cooperation with North Korea, which was formed in 1948 with the backing of the Soviet Union.

Kim also toured Russia’s Pacific Sea Fleet equipped with strategic nuclear submarines among other military vessels, KCNA said, quoting him as praising the fleet for its contribution to peace in the region.

Earlier this month, North Korea launched its first operational “tactical nuclear attack submarine.”  

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