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(LEAD) Kim, Putin meet at Vostochny spaceport in Russia ahead of summit: media

13:52 September 13, 2023

(ATTN: UPDATES with reported quote, details)

SEOUL, Sept. 13 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Russian President Vladimir Putin met at Russia's Vostochny spaceport Wednesday, according to Russia's news outlets, ahead of their expected summit later in the day.

Kim and Putin shook hands and exchanged conversation as Putin welcomed Kim at the spaceport in Russia's far east, according to the reports.

"Thank you for inviting us, despite your tight schedule," Kim told Putin during the encounter, according to Russia's state-run RIA Novosti news agency.

Analysts have predicted that North Korea may agree to supply Russia with ammunition and weaponry for its war in Ukraine. Moscow, in return, may agree on a weapons-related technology transfer to Pyongyang, such as those involving spy satellites and nuclear-powered submarines.

If Kim and Putin also agree to strengthen their military cooperation, including a three-way naval drill with China, it would pose a major security challenge on the Korean Peninsula and beyond.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (C) talks with Russian officials after arriving in the Russian border city of Khasan aboard his special train on Sept. 12, 2023, en route to an unspecified location for a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in this photo provided by the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). Kim said his trip to Russia for a meeting with Putin is a "clear manifestation" of North Korea prioritizing the strategic importance of their bilateral ties, the KCNA reported. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)



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