The Russian head of state told reporters that the North Korean leader “shows great interest in rocket technology” as the nation is trying to develop its space industry
Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have ended their talks that lasted more than five hours.
The leaders met at 7:09 a.m. Moscow time at the Vostochny Spaceport. Putin came by plane from Vladivostok, where he had taken part in the Eastern Economic Forum. Kim arrived aboard his train, a day after crossing into Russia. At a Russian train station in the city of Khasan near the border, he was greeted by Russian Natural Resources and Environment Minister Alexander Kozlov, who is co-chairman of the bilateral intergovernmental commission.
Putin and Kim walked up to each other, shook hands and exchanged a couple of phrases. They then toured the spaceport, watching the assembly of an Angara carrier rocket, visiting the Soyuz launch pad and the yet-unfinished Angara launch pad.
The Russian president told reporters that the North Korean leader “shows great interest in rocket technology” as the nation is trying to develop its space industry. Russia has already acquired “good expertise” in this area, he said.
After a tour of the spaceport, Putin and Kim embarked on their talks. They held talks that involved broader delegations from the two countries and also spoke one-on-one.
At the meeting that included the delegations, the Russian president said he was very pleased to receive the DPRK leader, and also recalled several dates that are memorable for both countries, such as the 70th anniversary of the end of the Korean War (1950-1953). He also invited his vis-a-vis to discuss economic interaction, humanitarian issues and the situation in the region.
Kim Jong Un thanked Putin for the invitation and said his visit was taking place at an important time. He said that Russia “has risen to the sacred challenge of defending its state sovereignty and protecting its security in opposition to hegemonic forces.” The North Korean leader expressed support for all the decisions of the Russian Federation, called relations with Moscow “the top priority” for Pyongyang and noted Russia’s role as a space power.
Following the conclusion of the talks, both with and without the country’s delegations, Putin held a formal dinner in honor of the foreign guest. Both leaders made toasts at the event.
The North Korean leader left the spaceport at about 12:23 p.m. Moscow time, marking the end of the summit between the countries. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told TASS that the talks were limited to one day and ended on Wednesday.
Kim previously came to Russia in April 2019. He and Putin held talks in Vladivostok at that time. It was their first meeting. The leaders talked one-on-one and involved members of their delegations. Putin held a formal reception on the occasion of the North Korean leader’s visit. At the end of the talks, they took questions from the media.
The leaders maintain contact in other ways as well. For example, Putin congratulated Kim on his election as leader of the DPRK, and in July this year he sent a telegram on the occasion of the anniversary of the end of the Korean War of 1950-1953. The Russian president traditionally congratulates the North Korean leader on Korea Liberation Day, which is marked on August 15. Kim Jong Un, according to reports from Pyongyang, also sends telegrams to Putin in honor of holidays and memorable dates, such as Russia Day, or in response to congratulations.
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu visited Pyongyang this past July. He met with Kim and gave him a personal message and a gift from Putin.
Vostochny is Russia’s first civilian spaceport. It is located in the Amur Region near the town of Tsiolkovsky.
The Russian president signed a 2007 decree to build the spaceport, and construction began in 2012.
The first launch from Vostochny took place on April 28, 2016 when the Soyuz-2.1a rocket put into orbit the research and educational satellites Lomonosov and Aist-2D, as well as the nanosatellite SamSat-218 that had been made by students.