Putin toasts to “strengthening of cooperation” with Kim Jong Un
North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin met for several hours on Wednesday in Russia’s far east region amid reports that the Kremlin is looking to buy ammunition and weapons from Pyongyang due to dwindling stockpiles at home.
What's more, as the meeting was underway, North Kora fired two short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast that landed in the sea.
It was the first time that Kim, an international pariah, has left the North in some four years. Putin, for his part, walked his friend through Russia's most modern space rocket launch site, while confirming that “all issues” were on the table – a nod to the fact that Pyongyang wants both economic aid – notably food and grain – and military tech in the trade.
The Kremlin also held a state dinner to reinforce the budding friendship.
The two also toasted to Putin’s war in Ukraine, with Kim affirming that North Korea “stand with Russia in the anti-imperialist, self-reliant front.” Still, as an increasingly isolated Putin looks for more friends, as Ian Bremmer notes, using the pariah Kim to prove that he’s not totally isolated – particularly just as the UN General Assembly gets underway in New York – is hardly a winning diplomatic strategy.