Espreso. Global

Why is Putin flying to Kim Jong Un?

11 June, 2024 Tuesday

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


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. 


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.

Read also:
  • News
2024, Friday
14 June
Ukraine reports 71 combat engagements on frontline, most intense situation in Pokrovsk sector
57 leaders will attend: Switzerland unveils lineup for Global Peace Summit
Austin assesses Ukraine's prospects to get F-16 fighters this summer
Putin is not raising stakes, he is nervous
Russian tanker calls at Mariupol port for first time since occupation
Military expert on main problem with Patriot air defense system in Ukraine
Zelenskyy on Putin's proposal to end war: No different from other ultimatums
17-year-old girls recruited into Zelenskyy's army: media fakes on June 14 
Even part of Putin's plan is defeat for Ukraine - diplomat Shamshur
NATO, Ukraine respond to Putin's claim of offering "peaceful resolution"
Russia prepares to "evacuate" museum treasures from Crimea
How Russia's disinformation campaign seeps into Swiss views
Russia cannot gain foothold in Novooleksandrivka, Donetsk region - 110th brigade spokesman
Russian forces set up military logistics base near residential buildings in Mariupol
Russia recognizes Georgian National Legion as terrorist organization
Russia sends 'volunteer corps' to war in Ukraine with increasing frequency - UK intelligence
Ukraine's General Staff reports intense Russian attacks in Pokrovsk, Kurakhove sectors
Ukraine returns bodies of 254 fallen defenders
Solntsepyok ammunition explodes in Russia's Shebekino, killing three soldiers - media
Peace Summit in Switzerland. What Ukraine should expect from it
DPRK transfers almost 5 million artillery shells to Russia, says Seoul
Systematic strikes on airfields: military expert Zgurets on Russia's targets
Mine explodes near cooling pond at Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant - IAEA
How Ukrainian robotic platforms work and at what distance. Serhiy Zgurets' column
Ukrainian partisans expose Russian airfield in Crimea
Canada sanctions 11 Russian individuals, 16 legal entities supporting war in Ukraine
Russia hits bus with drone in Sumy region, injuring three people
Russia claims to have destroyed 87 drones: oil depot allegedly damaged
ISW assesses consequences of strikes on Crimea for Russia
Russian fakes for June 13: selection from Center for Countering Disinformation
Russia's night attack: Ukraine's air defense destroys 24 of 31 air targets
Russian army loses 1,250 soldiers, 48 artillery systems, 8 tanks in Ukraine per day
2024, Thursday
13 June
Victorious news of 841st day of war: 5 destroyed Russian boats, $50 billion for Ukraine from frozen Russian assets
Ukraine, US sign bilateral security agreement for 10 years
Not only procurement, but strengthening production: Stoltenberg on expanding military aid to Ukraine
Ukraine to join NATO's JATEC training centre in Poland - Stoltenberg
Ukraine's IT Army shuts down Russian bank provider - Ministry of Digital Transformation
Russia plans to fill irrigation canals with artesian water after Kakhovka HPP destruction
Japan, Ukraine sign 10-year term security agreement: what it provides for
Russian missile strike on Kryvyi Rih kills 9 people, injures 37 others
More news