Update 1: Updates with meeting between Kim, Putin; adds quotes
Moscow, Sep 13 (EFE).- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, said Wednesday before his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that Pyongyang supports all of the president’s decisions.
“Russia has now risen up in a holy struggle to defend its sovereignty and security (…) We have always supported and continue to support all of President Putin’s decisions,” Kim told the Russian leader at the beginning of negotiations between the two in the Vostochny cosmodrome, in the Siberian Amur region.
The North Korean leader said the meeting with Putin would raise relations between the two to a new level for the benefit of “the people” of the two countries.
“I hope we will always be together in the fight against imperialism,” he said, adding that relations with Moscow are currently Pyongyang’s “highest priority.”
“We have many issues (to talk about), including politics, economics and culture,” he said.
The meeting between the two is expected to last several hours. The previous meeting between the two, in 2019, lasted three and a half hours.
Shortly before the summit, Putin told the press that he chose the Vostochi cosmodrome for the meeting because the North Korean leader “has a great interest in rockets.”
“We will talk about all issues without rushing. There is time,” Putin said when asked if he would talk about military cooperation with the North Korean leader.
The Vostochny cosmodrome, the construction of which has not yet been completed, spans 109 hectares, on which the construction of more than 200 buildings and structures is planned.
Earlier in the day, Kim said his visit to Russia shows the “strategic importance” of the ties between the countries, according to North Korean state news agency KCNA.
“Kim Jong-un said that his visit to the Russian Federation, his first foreign visit after the global public health crisis, is a clear manifestation of the will of the Workers’ Party of Korea and the government of (North Korea) to prioritize the strategic importance of relations between (North Korea) and Russia,” it said.
The agency said Kim made the comment during his stop at the Khasan station, the first Russian stop when crossing from North Korea.
Kim’s train and his entourage arrived in Khasan at 6:00 a.m. local time Tuesday (20:00 GMT on Monday), KCNA said, where they were welcomed with a red carpet, an honor guard and a military orchestra, and the presence, among other authorities, of Russian Natural Resources Minister Alexandr Kozlov.
KCNA said Kim “departed for his destination receiving a warm farewell from Russian officials.”
The leader’s convoy was later seen hours later in Ussuriysk, about 74 kilometers from Vladivostok, where many had anticipated the summit with Putin would take place.
Kim’s delegation includes the defense and foreign ministers, as well as senior military officials, including the industrial munitions department director, and the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party’s science and education secretary, which is linked to the North Korean space program.
The Kremlin said bilateral cooperation or trade ties will be on the agenda, as well as “sensitive issues” that will not be shared publicly, which is interpreted as confirmation that the two leaders will discuss military exchanges. EFE