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Kim Jong Un returns home after 'goodwill' Russia trip

  • Kim Jong Un returns to North Korea after strengthening ties with Putin in Russia
  • Western concerns: Kim's visit linked to arming Russia in Ukraine conflict
  • Russia seeks North Korea's artillery; North Korea wants tech and military upgrades
Update : 19 Sep 2023, 04:19 PM

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has "completed his official goodwill visit" to Russia and returned home, state media said on Tuesday.

According to the official Korean Central News Agency, Kim's train crossed a border river on Monday morning. The official did not say whether the train was headed to the capital Pyongyang or elsewhere in the country.

Before his trip to Russia, Kim made several visits to munitions factories, sparking speculation that he intended to inspect the production of weapons to be shipped to Russia.

Kim's longest foreign trip

Kim's trip to Russia, which began last Tuesday and included a summit with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, was his longest foreign travel as a leader. The two countries said they discussed boosting their defense ties but didn't disclose any specific steps.

Western countries fear that nuclear-armed North Korea could arm Russia's war in Ukraine.

During the trip, North Korea's leader inspected everything from Russian space rockets to submarines.

What do the two countries seek?

Kim also met Putin at Russia's most important space launch center before visiting military sites to see some of Russia's most advanced weapons systems such as nuclear-capable bombers, fighter jets, and hypersonic missiles.

Russia is eager for North Korea's stockpile of artillery shells to be used in Ukraine, while Pyongyang is looking for help with satellite technology and upgrading its Soviet-era military equipment, experts say.

US and South Korean officials have warned that Russia and North Korea would face consequences if they go ahead with such weapons transfer deals in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

Both Moscow and Pyongyang are under a raft of sanctions.

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