Kim Jong-un invites Putin to visit North Korea

Pair’s meeting in Russia stokes concerns that relationship could bolster Russia’s military in Ukraine and provide Pyongyang with missile technology

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has invited Russian president Vladimir Putin to visit North Korea during a rare summit in Russia.

The two leaders’ meeting has stoked US concerns that a revived Moscow-Pyongyang axis could bolster Russia’s military in Ukraine and provide North Korea with sensitive missile technology.

Mr Putin accepted the invitation, according to North Korean state news agency KCNA, though there was no immediate confirmation from the Kremlin. Since Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, Mr Putin has rarely travelled abroad.

Calling each other “comrades”, the two leaders toasted to their friendship on Wednesday with Russian wine after the 70-year-old Russian president showed Mr Kim (39) around Russia’s most modern space launch facility and they held talks alongside their defence ministers.


“At the end of the reception, Kim Jong Un courteously invited Putin to visit the DPRK at a convenient time,” KCNA said, referring to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, North Korea’s formal name.

“Putin accepted the invitation with pleasure and reaffirmed his will to invariably carry forward the history and tradition of the Russia-DPRK friendship,” KCNA said.

Russia on Thursday said the United States was hypocritical to criticise Mr Putin’s summit Mr Kim because Washington had sown chaos and sent weapons to allies across the world.

“The United States has no right to lecture us on how to live,” Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, said in a statement.

For the United States and allies, the burgeoning friendship between the two leaders is a concern: Washington has accused North Korea of providing arms to Russia, but it is unclear whether any deliveries have been made.

Both Russia and North Korea have denied those claims, but promised to deepen defence co-operation, and during a visit to North Korea in July, Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu was shown banned ballistic missiles by Mr Kim.

Mr Kim is due on Thursday to visit military and civilian aviation factories in the Russian city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur and to inspect Russia’s Pacific fleet in Vladivostok, Mr Putin said.

Over a sumptuous lunch of Russian “pelmeni” dumplings made with Kamchatka crab, white Amur fish soup and sturgeon, Mr Kim on Wednesday toasted to Mr Putin’s health, to the victory of “great Russia” and to Korean-Russian friendship, predicting victory for Moscow in its “sacred fight” with the West.

North Korea was founded in September 1948 with the backing of the Soviet Union, and Moscow supported it for decades during the Cold War, though support dropped off after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

In recent years, China has been seen as the power with the most influence over Mr Kim, but Pyongyang’s leaders have often tried to balance ties with both Moscow and Beijing. – Reuters