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Why is Putin flying to Kim Jong Un?

11 June, 2024 Tuesday
15:41

In the coming weeks, Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to visit North Korea and Vietnam: it is in these two countries that he will seek assistance for the Russian defense industry

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The Russian newspaper Vedomosti reported that Vladimir Putin will visit North Korea and Vietnam in the coming weeks. 

These are rather unusual visits for the Russian leader: he last visited Pyongyang two decades ago, when the father of the current dictator Kim Jong Il was the leader of North Korea. However, it is clear that Putin is much more interested in this visit now than when he visited Pyongyang in the first years of his tenure as president of the Russian Federation, because at that time Moscow had no serious interests in the North Korean capital, and economic relations between the two countries, both then and now, were at a rather low level.

In terms of economy, North Korea is more of a satellite of the People's Republic of China than of the Russian Federation, but after Russia's attack on Ukraine, Kim Jong Un became indispensable for Vladimir Putin as a crucial partner in arms supplies, as a leader who has nothing to lose because North Korea, because of its nuclear program, remains under Western sanctions and continues to threaten the entire civilized world. If you think about it, Putin is a kind of great Kim Jong Un - a rocket man, as former US President Donald Trump called the North Korean dictator, only Putin is a nuke man, and his ability to destroy everything around him is much greater than Kim Jong Un's, and the desires of both dictators can coincide.

During Kim Jong Un's last visit to the Russian Federation, the two dictators agreed on a vigorous arms supply from North Korea to Russia. 

There are rumors that North Korea can be used as a channel of communication between Russia and the People's Republic of China, as Beijing does not risk openly supplying weapons to Russia in order to avoid Western sanctions, but China's role in North Korean-Russian relations may also be exaggerated, The recent high-level visits have been made just when it comes to Russian and North Korean leaders, and Kim Jong Un, who has already visited Russia, is not going to visit China. And, of course, Chinese President Xi Jinping is in no hurry to visit Pyongyang.

Vladimir Putin, on the other hand, is going to North Korea, and, by the way, shortly after he visited China immediately after his formal re-election as president of the Russian Federation. So it is quite easy to understand what the North Korean and Russian dictators will be talking about: the continuation of the war in Ukraine, aid, weapons, new shells that should end up on the Russian-Ukrainian front, new North Korean missiles, what the North Korean military-industrial complex can do for the Russian military-industrial complex, and what political and economic support the Russian Federation can provide to North Korea in exchange for the constant supply of weapons to the front.

Kim Jong Un's efforts to help Vladimir Putin were clearly not in vain: we can even talk about some serious political and technological cooperation between the two countries, because shortly after his visit to the Russian Federation, the North Korean dictator made a serious turn in his own domestic and foreign policy, which his grandfather and father did not dare to do. Kim Jong Un became the first leader of the formally communist and, by and large, theocratic North Korea to declare South Korea a different state and a different nation, and, in fact, abandoned the idea of peaceful “reunification of the homeland” that remained the main ideological idea in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea after the North's defeat in the war on the Korean Peninsula.

Both the founder of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Kim Il Sung, who received his power from Joseph Stalin himself, and both his heirs, his son and grandson, have always adhered to the idea of the need to create a unified Korean state. And now, this grandson has not only abandoned the ideological guidance of his grandfather, who is a kind of deity for North Korea, but has also dismantled the Reunification Arch, which has remained the main ideological object of the DPRK for decades.

Vladimir Putin will not see it during his stay in Pyongyang, but Putin does not need any arches, he needs weapons, because he is determined to have a long-term war with Ukraine and a long-term confrontation with the West.

As we could all see from his behavior at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, he literally enjoys war, and the fact that through war he can turn Russia into a kind of great North Korea.

And of course, I should also mention the visit to Vietnam. Here, of course, economic issues may seem to be a higher priority than during Vladimir Putin's visit to North Korea, but the Russian leader may also be looking for weapons in Hanoi.

The communist leadership of Vietnam will also be cautious about supplying weapons to the Russian Federation, because, like the leadership of the People's Republic of China, it does not want to spoil its economic relations with the West, but if Vietnam joins the same assistance to the Russian military-industrial complex that is currently being provided by China, that is, assistance in the supply of dual technologies and in the development of the Russian military-industrial complex, this will be a very good result for Vladimir Putin.

It is not surprising that Putin, in his desire to continue the war with Ukraine for a long time, seeks support and assistance from the former allies of the Soviet Union, from those countries where the archaic communist regime still exists, where all decisions are made not at the level of society or parliament, but at the level of the general secretary of the Communist Party.

In this regard, his visit to China, his visit to North Korea, and his visit to Vietnam are, by and large, a logical return to the past: the past in which the Russian president wants to drag his own country, and of course Ukraine, and Ukraine's victory in the war against the Russian Federation should be a victory of the future over the past, for which both Putin and millions of his compatriots are willing to pay any price. 

Source

About the author. Vitaliy Portnikov, journalist, winner of the Shevchenko National Prize of Ukraine.

The editors do not always share the opinions expressed by the authors of the blogs.

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