‘US role behind regional tensions’ amid possible Putin-Kim meet hype
Published: Sep 05, 2023 11:16 PM
Russia and North Korea Photo: VCG

Russia and North Korea Photo: VCG

The Kremlin offered no comment regarding a New York Times report claiming that President Vladimir Putin would meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, reported Russia's TASS news agency on Tuesday, while Chinese experts said that the intervention of the US in Northeast Asia has made the region more antagonistic and unstable. 

Kim plans to travel from Pyongyang, probably by armored train, to Vladivostok on the Pacific Coast of Russia, where he would meet with Putin, The New York Times quoted officials as saying, adding that both sides would discuss the possibility of supplying Russia with more weaponry and other military cooperation.

Both leaders would be on the campus of Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok to attend the Eastern Economic Forum, which is scheduled to run from September 10 to 13, the newspaper citied officials from the US and its allies as saying. 

In response to the US media reports, Russian Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov refused to comment, saying "We have nothing to tell you.," TASS reported. TASS reported that Putin and Kim last met at the Eastern Economic Forum in 2019.

In 2019, Russia still had a relatively harmonious relationship with Japan, South Korea, the Europe and the US, Cui Heng, an assistant research fellow at the Center for Russian Studies of East China Normal University, told the Global Times on Tuesday. At that time, Kim's visit to Russia showed a new round of regional cooperation in Northeast Asia. 

By 2023, the whole situation in Northeast Asia has undergone fundamental changes, and Russia's relations with Japan and South Korea have seen deterioration and worsening bloc politics. In this context, Russia and North Korea have strengthened their security cooperation to jointly deal with foreign threats, which is a concern of the US media and politicians, Cui said.

Analysts believe that the US and its allies may fear that during Kim's visit, Russia and North Korea may further strengthen cooperation in the field of military security, which will consume some of the resources of the US.

The White House warned on August 30 that Putin and Kim had exchanged letters discussing a possible arms deal, citing declassified intelligence.

In response to Washington's previous claims that Putin and Kim exchanged letters, Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said that Russia and North Korea maintain good and mutually respectful relations and communication on various levels.  

Experts noted that areas of cooperation between Russia and North Korea are relatively limited, mainly in the field of military and security. Considering the increasing trend of bloc politics in Northeast Asia, cooperation between Russia and North Korea is beneficial to both countries.

The US is deeply concerned that Russia is gaining ground in Ukraine because of outside military aid, Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University told the Global Times. From the US' logic, this could frustrate its intention to use Ukraine crisis to contain Russia.

The strengthening of cooperation between North Korea and Russia is forced by the US, Li said, as frequent South Korea-US military exercises have created more divisions in Northeast Asia.