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Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un visit the Vostochny Сosmodrome in the far eastern Amur region, Russia, September 13 2023. Picture: SPUTNIK/ARTEM GEODAKYAN/REUTERS
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un visit the Vostochny Сosmodrome in the far eastern Amur region, Russia, September 13 2023. Picture: SPUTNIK/ARTEM GEODAKYAN/REUTERS

Moscow — Russian President Vladimir Putin has “gratefully accepted” North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s invitation to visit his country, the Kremlin said on Thursday, after the two men held a rare summit in Russia’.

The summit has stoked US concerns that a revived Moscow-Pyongyang axis could bolster Russia’s military in Ukraine and provide Kim with sensitive missile technology.

“Kim Jong Un invited Putin to visit North Korea and Putin gratefully accepted this invitation,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters, adding that Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov was expected to visit Pyongyang in October.

“These high-level contacts were very, very constructive. North Korea is our neighbour, and as with other neighbours, Russia intends to build and develop good relations and mutually beneficial co-operation based on mutual respect,” Peskov said.

In Wednesday’s talks, Kim and Putin discussed military matters, the war in Ukraine and Russian help for North Korea’s satellite programme. Putin also showed Kim around Russia’s most modern space launch facility.

Asked whether the two leaders had exchanged gifts, Peskov said Putin had given Kim a glove from a spacesuit “that had been in space several times” and a Russian-made rifle. In turn, Kim had given Putin a North Korean-made gun, among other gifts, Peskov added.

Putin, now back in Moscow, briefed Russia’s Security Council earlier on Thursday on his talks with Kim, Peskov said. The North Korean leader’s visit to Russia will continue for several more days, he said, without elaborating.

Putin had previously said that Kim on Thursday would visit military and civilian aviation factories in the Russian city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur and inspect Russia’s Pacific fleet in Vladivostok.

Reuters

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