Thursday, 18 Jul 2024

North Korea launches two missiles as Putin and Kim Jong Un meet for 'arms talks'

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North Korea launched two ballistic missiles towards its eastern seas – just hours before Kim Jong Un and Putin met over suspected arms talks.

The weapons are believed to have flown cross-country across North Korea, leaving Japan and South Korea wary of their close yet oft-volatile neighbour.

Japan’s Coast Guard, citing Tokyo’s Defence Ministry, said the missile likely has landed but still urged vessels that may be travelling or moored around Japan’s coast to watch out for falling objects.

Kim Jong Un and Mr Putin are expected to discuss their shared international concerns and foes, as well as the possibility of aid.

The northern part of Korea is in desperate need of energy and food supplies, analysts say, with their regime cut off from their neighbours and the globe.

Mr Kim and Putin arrived at Vostochny cosmodrome in Russia’s far east for a meeting earlier today.

The meeting underscores how the two leaders’ interests are aligning in the face of their separate, intensifying confrontations with the United States.

After Mr Kim arrived by limousine – brought in his armoured train from Pyongyang – Mr Putin shook hands with him and said he was ‘very glad to see’ him.

Russia state media quoted Mr Kim as thanking Mr Putin for the invitation to visit Russia, ‘despite being busy’.

The two leaders will inspect the cosmodrome and then sit down for talks, Russian state media reported.

For Mr Putin, the meeting with Mr Kim is an opportunity to refill ammunition stores that the 18-month-old war has drained.

For Mr Kim, it is a chance to get around crippling UN sanctions and years of diplomatic isolation.

Mr Kim is expected to seek economic aid and military technology, though an arms deal would violate international sanctions that Russia supported in the past.

Mr Kim said his decision to visit Russia four years after his previous visit showed how Pyongyang is ‘prioritising the strategic importance’ of its relations with Moscow, North Korea’s official news agency said on Wednesday.

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