North Korean leader Kim Jong Un expects to engage with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in Russia to continue actively advancing arms negotiations between the two countries, according to the US government.
“We have information that Kim Jong-Un expects these discussions to continue, to include leader-level diplomatic engagement in Russia,” said National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson of ongoing arms negotiations between Russia and North Korea.
Watson did not say when and where a potential meeting between Kim and Putin in Russia might take place, but it would follow Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu’s visit to North Korea in July and comes after US officials last week said that the two countries are “actively advancing” their negotiations over another potential arms deal that could see Pyongyang providing weaponry to support Russia’s war effort in Ukraine.
The Shoigu visit was made “to try to convince Pyongyang to sell artillery ammunition to Russia,” Watson said. “We urge the DPRK to cease its arms negotiations with Russia and abide by the public commitments that Pyongyang has made to not provide or sell arms to Russia.”
Since that trip another group of Russian officials traveled to Pyongyang for follow-on discussions, NSC strategic communications coordinator John Kirby said last week. Putin and Kim have also have exchanged letters pledging to increase their bilateral cooperation, he added.
The New York Times first reported the potential meeting in Russia, saying it is expected to take place this month.
CNN has asked the Russian embassy in Washington for comment.
During the war Russia has received support from Iran and North Korea. Iran has sent drones and artillery and late last year North Korea delivered infantry rockets.
In addition Chinese state-owned defense companies have sent technology and equipment, but US officials say they have seen no signs so far that China has provided weapons or lethal military aid to Russia.
The Biden administration has routinely declassified intelligence about the support Russia is receiving – or is planning to receive – in an effort to deter countries from providing support for Russia’s war effort.
Late last year the US said that North Korea delivered infantry rockets and missiles into Russia for use by Wagner forces. The potential deal being discussed would provide significant ammunition for different types of weapons systems, including artillery, Kirby said.
“Under these potential deals Russia would receive significant quantities and multiple types of munitions form the DPRK, which the Russian military plans to use in Ukraine. These potential deals could also include the provision of raw materials that would assist Russia’s defense industrial base,” Kirby said, pledging that the US would take direct action to sanction any entities involved in a potential deal and urged Pyongyang to cease the negotiations.
“There is no other way to look at that than desperation and weakness, quite frankly,” Kirby added.