Putin and Kim sign historic military pact during North Korea visit

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has promised “full support and solidarity” for Russia’s war in Ukraine as he met with Vladimir Putin in Pyongyang.

The Russian President on Wednesday thanked Mr Kim for his support in the conflict, before adding that he was fighting against the decades-long “hegemonic and imperialist policy” of the United States and its allies.

Relations between the two pariah states have warmed in recent years as both sanctioned countries have become further isolated by the West.

The pair also signed a comprehensive strategic partnership pact, according to Russian news agencies Interfax and RIA.

Experts say Russia is hoping to replenish its diminishing stockpile of arms and ammunition for the war with a military deal, while Mr Kim is looking for technological support for his military programmes and financial help to keep afloat his heavily sanctioned economy.

Such weapons transfers are banned by UN Security Council resolutions, while US officials say they fear Russia could provide aid for North Korea’s nuclear programmes. Russia and North Korea have denied arms transfers but have promised to strengthen military ties.

putin and kim sign historic military pact during north korea visit

Mr Putin and Mr Kim attend an official welcoming ceremony at Kim Il Sung Square in the North Korean capital (Photo: Sputnik/Gavriil Grigorov/Pool via Reuters)

putin and kim sign historic military pact during north korea visit

The Russian President’s motorcade drives along a street in Pyongyang (Photo: Gavriil Grigorov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

putin and kim sign historic military pact during north korea visit

North Koreans celebrate at the official welcome ceremony in Kim Il Sung Square (Photo: Vladimir Smirnov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

As Mr Putin touched down in Pyongyang for the first time in 24 years, he was greeted by Mr Kim. The pair embraced and travelled together to the state guest house, before cheering crowds greeted Mr Putin in the capital city’s centre, according to North Korean state media.

Footage showed streets of Pyongyang lined with portraits of Mr Putin and a vacant 101-story pyramid-shaped Ryugyong Hotel brightly lit with the message “Welcome Putin”.

Video broadcast by Russian media showed a guard of honour and a large crowd of civilians gathered at Kim Il Sung square by the Taedong River running through Pyongyang. The scene included children holding balloons, and giant pictures of the two leaders with national flags decorating the square’s main building.

North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency described their meeting as a historic event that demonstrated the “invincibility and durability” of the two nations’ friendship and unity, while Mr Kim claimed North Korea-Russia relations are entering a period of “new high prosperity.”

“Now the situation in the world is becoming more complicated and changing rapidly. In such a situation, we intend to further strengthen strategic communication with Russia, with the Russian leadership,” Mr Kim said.

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