AFP : North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived at a Russian industrial city to visit a military aviation factory on Friday, Russian agencies reported, following his summit with President Vladimir Putin.
Historic allies, Russia and North Korea are both under rafts of global sanctions-Moscow for its Ukraine conflict, Pyongyang for its nuclear tests-with Kim’s visit sparking concern from Kyiv’s allies over possible arms agreements.
Two days after meeting Putin at a spaceport, Kim’s bullet-proof train pulled into Komsomolsk-on-Amur in Russia’s far east, where he was met with flowers, music, a dance group and ceremonial loaves of bread, the Interfax agency said.
Kim, who rarely leaves his country, is in the key Russian industrial centre to visit a military and civil aviation firm.
While Pyongyang wants Moscow’s help to develop its missile programme, US officials and experts have said Russia is interested in buying North Korean ammunition to use in Ukraine.
TASS news agency reported Kim visited an aviation plant named after Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin-the first person in space. TASS said the plant produces Russia’s Sukhoi Su-35 and Su-57 fighter aircraft.
When Kim’s train arrived in Russia on Tuesday-having left Pyongyang on Sunday-the North Korean leader was gifted a signed photo of Gagarin at the border.
Kim held talks with Putin at the Vostochny cosmodrome on Wednesday.
Afterwards, Putin said on television that Kim “will visit factories where civilian and combat aviation equipment is produced” in Komsomolsk-on-Amur.
He added that Kim would also visit the far east port of Vladivostok to oversee a display of Russian warships.