North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s visit to Russia’s Far East continued with a focus on military technology as he inspected Russia’s advanced weaponry and facilities.
Russian news sources reported that Kim examined Russia’s hypersonic ‘Kinzhal’ missiles and was briefed on the country’s nuclear-capable strategic bombers during his tour.
Kim’s arrival in Artyom, near Vladivostok, was warmly welcomed, including children presenting him with flowers. His visit then took him to Vladivostok airport, where he received a comprehensive briefing on Russia’s military capabilities.
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and other senior military officials introduced Kim to the latest Russian missile, the hypersonic Kinzhal, known as ‘dagger’ in Russian.
This air-launched ballistic missile can carry both nuclear and conventional warheads and boasts a reported range of 1,500 to 2,000 kilometers while traveling at speeds of up to 10 times the speed of sound.
Kim also had the opportunity to examine three models of strategic bombers – the Tu-160, Tu-95, and Tu-22M3. These aircraft are regularly employed by Russia for missile launches, including in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
During the visit, Kim inquired about the missile-launching process from the aircraft. A Russian official emphasized the crucial role of strategic bombers in Russia’s nuclear forces, highlighting their capability to fly from Moscow to Japan and back.
Kim’s journey in Russia began with a summit meeting with President Vladimir Putin at the Vostochny Cosmodrome spaceport, followed by a visit to a plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur that produces Russia’s Su-57 fighter jets.
During his visit, Kim admired Russia’s aviation technologies, which he perceived as surpassing potential external threats.
Experts have suggested that potential military collaboration between Russia and North Korea could involve modernizing North Korea’s outdated air force, which still relies on Soviet-era warplanes from the 1980s.
Kim’s itinerary also included a visit to Russian naval ships in Vladivostok. While Putin and Kim discussed military matters, the war in Ukraine, and deepening cooperation during their initial meeting, Putin emphasized Russia’s commitment to international sanctions imposed on North Korea by the United Nations.
However, the United States has expressed concerns that Russia may be pursuing discussions with North Korea to access artillery and rockets that could be employed in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.