The North Korean leader is scheduled to visit Russia’s far-eastern city of Vladivostok likely in his armoured train, as per reports, for a summit that is set to being on Sunday.
Mr Kim’s expected participation in the Eastern Economic Forum comes as Vladimir Putin faces a depletion of military supplies and looks to lean in on North Korea’s support to replenish munitions – an unexpected reversal from the 1950s during the Korean War when the Soviet Union had supplied arms to the North.
The North Korean leader is expected to meet Russian president Vladimir Putin to discuss weapons supplies as well as details on other military cooperation.
This would be only the North Korean leader’s second visit to Russia as he looks to strengthen ties with Moscow, which is becoming increasingly isolated after its invasion of Ukraine.
“We know that Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu has visited recently for artillery shells predominantly, and most likely that will be discussed between Putin and Kim Jong Un,” Alexander Gabuev, head of the Carnegie Russia Eurasia Center, told The Associated Press.
The state-run Korean Central News Agency, however, has not made any mention of Mr Kim other than the photo session he attended. The state mouthpiece said Mr Kim had praised the people “who put state affairs above their family affairs in good or bad days”.
The festivities had included a celebration with floral baskets dedicated to past North Korean leaders and concerts for a visiting Chinese delegation.
While Russia sent a military song and dance group for the country’s anniversary celebrations, China sent a delegation led by vice premier Liu Guozhong.
The lack of government officials from Russia at the celebrations could be indicative of ongoing preparations for the summit between Mr Putin and Mr Kim, speculated South Korean media.
The Kremlin refused to comment as well when asked about a possible deal that would see North Korean arms supplied to Russia.
“North Korea is our neighbour, and we will further develop our relations without looking back at other countries’ opinion,” said Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov.
While both Pyongyang and Moscow have denied claims they were negotiating arms supplies, the US said last week that such rapidly advancing talks for North Korea to supply weapons to Mr Putin to use in Ukraine would be a mistake.
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