Putin-Kim Meeting ‘Major Reset for Russia-DPRK Relations’

Orinoco Tribune, September 15, 2023 —

Wednesday’s meeting between Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un became the substantive interaction in which the North Korean leader has taken part, Michael Madden, a fellow at the Washington-based Stimson Center and director and founder of NK Leadership Watch, told Sputnik.

During a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia’s Far East on Wednesday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pledged his country’s full-fledged support for “all decisions” made by Moscow.

Putin, for his part, touted the Wednesday talks as “very productive”, adding that “a very frank exchange of views took place on the situation in the region and on bilateral relations.”

“My overall impression is that this was a productive event and visit for Kim Jong Un, both for any benefits the country will derive as part of the summit’s outcomes, and for his career as a political leader,” Michael Madden said.

He recalled that many of Kim’s prior interactions with foreign leadership “were either narrowly focused on nuclear weapons or inter-Korean negotiations. According to Madden, the North Korean leader’s meeting with Putin “has a bit more heft because it was more wide ranging.”

Madden likewise stressed that the two’s talks at the Vostochny Cosmodrome were “one of the largest foreign leadership interactions that the DPRK has conducted in many years, based on the posts and influence of the principals who attended, from both sides.”

“This is certainly the most extensive and substantive interaction in which Kim Jong Un has participated, and certainly the most extensive substantive summit meeting North Korea has participated since 2011, when Kim Jong Il was still alive,” the pundit pointed out.

He likewise suggested that “the primary goal” for Putin and Kim “was partially to reconnect on an interpersonal level, after four years.” Madden mentioned “a number of areas of cooperation, which this meeting was either originating, such as space development, or expanding, such as educational and cultural exchanges.”

“This is covering new ground and old ground. While they did not ink any agreements (as far as I could see), they intended to establish at least a skeletal framework to act upon or discuss these areas among relevant principals or counterparts at a future date. Fundamentally, however, these interactions were the first in what is a major reset for Russia-DPRK relations,” the political commentator underlined.

Touching upon the topics Putin and Kim focused on during the talks, Madden recalled that North Korea and Russia “share a small border”, which is why he said “the most significant and common issue they have, albeit I do not know whether it was discussed, is development and expansion of the northeast Asia corridor between the DPRK, Russia and China.”

The pundit said that North Korea and Russia “have had levels of cooperation for many years and those are areas which they can leverage and build up,” something that he said includes diplomatic, cultural and educational exchanges.
During the meeting, Putin, in particular, said that he takes pride in the development of Russia’s space industry. Madden noted in this regard that the DPRK “has sincere space aspirations or aspirations for a civilian space program and no doubt Russia has the experience and knowledge to help the North Koreans.”

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