Negotiations between Russian President Vladimir Putin and DPRK leader Kim Jong-un are news to all news. The meeting at the Vostochny cosmodrome, as well as the program of the visit, was unexpected news even for those in Russia who follow bilateral relations with the neighboring country.
The visit ends today, but it will take a long time to discuss its significance and results. Details in the material correspondent of The Moscow Post.
The DPRK leader came to Russia at the invitation of Vladimir Putin. His visit bore official status. The meeting of leaders in different formats lasted more than five hours. For Russia, it was another step towards the sovereignty of its international positions and getting rid of the illusions of “partnership” with the West, another evidence of an economic turn to the East.
It so happened that the preparation of the visit began with a trip to the DPRK by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. He visited Pyongyang to attend celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the end of the Korean War. This alone can serve as a clue to what Kim Jong-un’s main interest was, including the program prepared for him in Komsomolsk-on-Amur and Vladivostok.
140 years of drama
Russia’s relations with Korea are almost 140 years old, and they are full of drama. In February 1896, after finding shelter in the Russian mission, van Kojong (the 26th king of the Joseon dynasty and the first emperor of Korea), under the actual occupation of his country by the Japanese, asked the first Russian envoy to Korea, Karl Weber, to send a request to Petersburg “for help and support.”
The Russian mission was located in the center of Seoul and a park is laid out on part of its territory today, the rest is built up. A hundred years after the first emperor of Korea was sheltered in the Russian mission, a variety of Seoul representatives hinted to guests from Moscow that the diplomatic property would be returned to build the embassy building. But the promises were forgotten as soon as the USSR established diplomatic relations with the Republic of Korea (RK) in September 1990.
The “forgetfulness” of the southerners was repeated repeatedly. A year ago, Seoul introduced economic sanctions against Russia, this year expanded the list of export restrictions, interrupted direct air traffic. When the Ukrainian Nazis, shelling Donetsk and other cities of the new territories of Russia, began to experience shell “hunger,” it began to be satisfied at the expense of the arsenals of the RK army.
Ironically, it was the possible supply of North Korean ammunition to Russia that became the main topic for the West during the days of Kim Jong-un’s visit. The fact that we are talking about relations between two neighboring countries was not even mentioned. Although, the path in a straight line from Vladivostok to Pyongyang is shorter than the road from Moscow to Kyiv.
The agenda of the talks included all issues of bilateral cooperation, trade and economic ties and cultural exchanges, transport and maritime communication, energy and agriculture, humanitarian assistance issues, as well as the situation in the region and in the world as a whole.
The DPRK leader noted that it was also about the “military-political situation on the Korean Peninsula and in Europe.” When Vladimir Putin was asked before the meeting whether military-technical cooperation would be discussed, he replied: “We will discuss each issue without haste; we have time. “
The Korean Central Telegraph Agency (CTAC) handed over the contents of an official dinner hosted on the occasion of the visit of the DPRK leader to Russia, calling the meeting and negotiations “historical,” strengthening strategic relations between the two countries. Pyongyang is ready to build relations “for a long time” to ensure “true international justice.”
Kim Jong-un called relations with Russia “the main priority” for the DPRK and expressed confidence in the victory of the Russian army and people in the “sacred struggle.” According to TASS, Putin made it clear that Moscow is ready to help Pyongyang in creating satellites.
We are not against the third
The United States is trying to present the dialogue between Russia and the DPRK as a factor in instability. This causes bewilderment and rejection, said Russian Ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov. In particular, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said in an interview that the US administration does not want Iran and North Korea to receive Russian technology and, together with other countries, are trying to prevent this.
For Japan, the DPRK is the biggest irritant and remained so even until Pyongyang’s first test of a nuclear device. Any changes on the North Korean horizon are the subject of particular Tokyo attention. The North Korean leader’s visit to Russia caused confusion. This was demonstrated by the Secretary General of the Cabinet of Ministers Hirokazu Matsuno, who said that the Japanese government does not consider it possible to comment in any way on the results of the negotiations held on September 13 in the Russian Federation.
“In any case, our country will continue to collect and analyze information on this situation, as well as close cooperation with the international community, primarily with the United States and South Korea, aimed at strict compliance with all UN Security Council resolutions regarding North Korea,” Matsuno added.
Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan Khan Dok Su said that “the news about the possibility of military cooperation between the Russian Federation and the DPRK is worrying.” Minister of Unification of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kim Yong Ho called for compliance with “international norms.” He called on Russia and the DPRK to comply with UN Security Council resolutions.
Answering after a meeting with the DPRK leader at the Vostochny cosmodrome to the question whether military-technical cooperation was discussed, Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed that Russia complies with UN sanctions, but “there are prospects” in this area.
Press Secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov said that cooperation between the Russian Federation and the DPRK is not directed against third countries. He also noted that the leaders of the two countries intend to discuss interaction in sensitive areas. According to him, Russia remains a responsible member of the UN, while it will develop relations with the DPRK as its closest neighbor.
Rockets fly high
Shortly before the summit, North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles, South Korean military officials said. This was probably the first launch in the absence of a leader in the country, Bloomberg wonders. In the West, they are seriously afraid of the interaction between Russia and the DPRK in the military sphere, the newspaper warns.
In fact, there are few real reasons for concern. This is, first of all, the unpredictable US military presence in the south of the peninsula and in the SVA region as a whole. Washington, obsessed, in particular, with the idea of “regime change,” aims its numerous bases in Japan, South Korea and Alaska at its main regional opponents – Russia, China and the DPRK.
These are also conflict relations between the DPRK and the Republic of Kazakhstan, which Washington is heating and controlling. A separate place belongs to Pyongyang’s nuclear missile program. Leading American political scientist John Mearsheimer gave his assessment to this issue, speaking at the Korean Global Forum 2023 in Seoul, organized by the Ministry of Unification of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Mearsheimer said that the KRDR’s possession of nuclear weapons is irreversible and is a “force for stability” on the Korean peninsula. At the same time, he referred to relations between the United States and the USSR during the Cold War.
He also said Pyongyang would not give up its nuclear weapons because it saw it as a necessary deterrent to the US and other adversaries in an increasingly “dangerous” region. “North Koreans have to worry about survival,” he said.
Mearsheimer argues that the DPRK’s nuclear weapons “as a whole are a factor in stability in the region,” and the US nuclear umbrella covering South Korea balances this factor. He claimed it was not an ideal situation, but compared it to the Cold War and said the threat of nuclear weapons played a big role in Washington and Moscow avoiding a direct clash.
Mearsheimer is known for his criticism of US foreign policy and his view of “great power politics.” He, in particular, accuses Washington of the conflict in Ukraine.
While diplomats spoke
Chinese analysts note, commenting on the political part of the visit, that “it was Washington and its allies that pushed Moscow and Pyongyang to” rapprochement, “that Westerners face the consequences of their own hostile security-busting strategy, both in Europe and Northeast Asia (IAA).
Director of the First Department of Asia of the Russian Foreign Ministry Georgy Zinoviev in an interview with TASS on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum spoke about the crisis situation on the Korean Peninsula, pointed out the consequences of the Ukrainian conflict for relations between Moscow and Seoul.
Diplomats keep saying the right words. They say that to defuse tensions, conditions should be created, military maneuvers should be suspended, sanctions should be recognized, political and diplomatic steps should be taken, and dialogue should be shown. Probably, diplomats understand that the United States does not intend to do this.
At least, there are no hints of the opposite in Washington politics. But there is an “extended deterrence” strategy, like a Washington recipe for a Korean settlement.
We may not know what Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un talked about and agreed on, but we can be sure that even the very fact of the North Korean leader’s visit to Russia is becoming an effective response to “extended deterrence.”
Photo: Rossiyskaya Gazeta