Russian president Vladimir Putin said that Moscow would help North Korea launch satellites as he met Kim Jong Un at a cosmodrome in Russia’s Far East. “The leader of the DPRK shows great interest in rocket engineering; they are also trying to develop space,” Vladimir Putin said at the opening of the meeting at the gleaming new space station while Kim Jong Un said it was North Korea’s unwavering position to further develop its traditional friendship and ties with Russia.
“I find it an honour that the president has prepared an opportunity to meet at a special environment at the launch station which is the heart of your position as a space superpower and given us a deep understanding of the way forward,” Kim asserted.
The North Korean leader also told Vladimir Putin the Kremlin chief had his full backing in the “sacred fight” that Moscow is waging “against the hegemonic forces”- referring to the Ukraine war.
“We will always support the decisions of President Putin and the Russian leadership… and we will be together in the fight against imperialism,” Kim told Putin.
The choice to meet at Vostochny Cosmodrome – a symbol of Russia’s ambitions as a space power – was notable. North Korea twice failed to launch reconnaissance satellites in the past four months. Kim Jong Un has made it a top priority to launch a spy satellite as he pushing his nuclear-armed country to step up the development of ballistic missiles, drones and submarines.
Footage showed Vladimir Putin giving Kim a tour of the facility including the building where the Angara, Russia’s new space launch rocket, is assembled. The 42.7-metre booster launches payloads into low Earth orbit, Reuters reported.
Shortly before the summit, North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles from an area near the capital Pyongyang into the sea off its east coast.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the two countries will cooperate in “sensitive” areas, including military cooperation but it is not targeted at other countries and they should not be concerned about Moscow’s ties with North Korea.