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Russia’s Putin plans to arrive in North Korea Tuesday


FILE - Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un shake hands during their meeting in Vladivostok, Russia, April 25, 2019.
FILE - Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un shake hands during their meeting in Vladivostok, Russia, April 25, 2019.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to arrive in Pyongyang Tuesday for a rare visit that could result in the signing of a “strategic partnership treaty,” according to Kremlin officials.

Described as a “friendly state visit,” the trip will be Putin’s first to North Korea in 24 years as he looks to bolster support of his military offensive in Ukraine.

U.S. and South Korean officials have accused Pyongyang of providing Russia with artillery, missiles and other military equipment, possibly in return for key military technologies and aid.

Both Pyongyang and Moscow have denied accusations about North Korean weapons transfers; Ukrainian government officials have documented North Korean-made shells found on the battlefield.

Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are expected to sign a new partnership agreement that would include security issues, according to Russian foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov.

Russia and North Korea are among the most-sanctioned countries in the world.

“The list of countries willing to welcome Putin is shorter than ever, but for Kim Jong Un, this visit is a victory,” said Leif-Eric Easley, professor at Ewha University in Seoul.

Any kind of weapons trade between the two countries would violate several U.N. Security Council resolutions that permanent-member Russia endorsed.

According to Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency, Putin is scheduled to arrive in the capital Tuesday and stay through Wednesday.

Kim visited Russia's Far East in September.

Both the United States and South Korea have also said that Russia has provided North Korea with technical assistance for its satellite program and food. The two countries have had a relationship since the Soviet Union aided in creating the state after the Korean War.

Both Russia and China have blocked attempts by the U.S. and partners to impose more sanctions on North Korea over banned missile tests.

A Russian veto at the United Nations in March ended monitoring of U.N. sanctions against North Korea.

Putin has also made plans to visit Vietnam, where he is scheduled to meet with General Nguyen Phu Trong, head of the Vietnamese Communist Party, President To Lam, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, and National Assembly Chairman Tran Thanh Man.

The United States, after spending years attempting to develop a relationship with Vietnam, responded to this information critically.

“As Russia continues to seek international support to sustain its illegal and brutal war against Ukraine, we reiterate that no country should give Putin a platform to promote his war of aggression and otherwise allow him to normalize his atrocities,” said a statement by a U.S. Embassy spokesperson in Vietnam.

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