07.07.2024 Author: Abbas Hashemite

Significance of Putin’s Visit to North Korea

Significance of Putin’s Visit to North Korea

Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Pyongyang last month on a two-day visit. This was the first visit of the Russian President to North Korea in 24 years. Historically, the two sides saw ups and downs in their relations. However, since the commencement of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Moscow and Pyongyang have seen an improvement in their bilateral relations. The recent visit of President Putin holds immense significance for global power politics due to the defense pact signed between the two countries.

Kim Jong Un, the North Korean President, invited his Russian counterpart on an official visit to North Korea in September when the two leaders met for the first time since 2019. The Kremlin announced the visit of the Russian President to North Korea stating, “At the invitation of the Chairman of State Affairs of the DPRK, Kim Jong Un, Vladimir Putin will pay a friendly state visit to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on June 18-19.” The president was warmly received by his North Korean counterpart at the airport.

Fluctuating Relations and Recent Improvements

The relations between the two sides have experienced numerous fluctuations over the course of history. Just after the four months of his election in 2000, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited North Korea to improve the relations between the two states. Relations between the two sides came to a halt due to the nuclear program of North Korea in 2016. Russia opposed the North Korean nuclear program and supported all the measures taken by the United Nations against North Korea. However, the relations between the two sides saw a slight improvement in 2019 when Kim Jong Un to Russia, but no major breakthrough was observed in that summit.

Since the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, North Korean President Kim Jong Un has supported Russia unequivocally. The West has even blamed North Korea for arms assistance to Russia. Mathew Miller, the US State Department Spokesperson, claimed repeatedly that North Korea had provided “dozens of ballistic missiles and over 11,000 containers of munitions to Russia.” However, Russia and North Korea, both, have denied these claims multiple times. President Putin’s recent visit to Pyongyang is deemed significant due to numerous reasons. The visit was considered as the strengthening of alliance and cooperation between the two states against the West. Burgeoning relations between North Korea and Russia have also raised concerns for South Korea – a significant ally of the West in the Korean peninsula. This was one of the reasons behind Russia’s public announcement of the renaissance of relations with North Korea.

Strategic and Economic Implications

Moreover, North Korea has also demonstrated interest in joining the BRICS. The BRICS membership will help North Korea evade the UN sanctions. The BRICS is also likely to announce its own currency for trade between the member states. This will help North Korea to decrease its dependence on the dollar, assisting it in strengthening its own currency. This will also help North Korea in redefining its geopolitical isolation. In the recent visit of the Russian President Vladimir Putin, both the states have signed a comprehensive strategic partnership agreement. This pact calls for cooperation and partnership in all domains including humanitarian assistance, trade, diplomacy, culture, bilateral investment, and security.

According to this security agreement, Russia will provide arms and weapons to North Korea. Moreover, both countries will defend each other in case of an armed invasion by any foreign country. Given the military capabilities of Russia and its reemergence as a superpower will provide North Korea stronger defense against the United States, South Korea, and other Western allies. Russia has recently vetoed a UN resolution against the North Korean missile program. After this security pact, Russia is likely to continue using its veto power against the UN resolutions and sanctions on North Korea’s missile program. The security agreement between Russia and North Korea has increased the possibility of a nuclear deal between the two states.

The United States and other Western states are highly concerned over this security agreement. This pact jeopardizes the Western interests in the Korean peninsula. The US State Department has warned that this move could destabilize the Korean peninsula and stated that it is “incredibly concerned” over this security agreement. The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, hinted at serious measures by the United States in response to the security agreement between the two countries. Seoul summoned the Russian ambassador and threatened to arm Ukraine in response to this security agreement. However, the Russian ambassador, Georgy Zinoviev, declared all the attempts to threaten and blackmail Russia unacceptable. Despite serious threats from the West and South Korea, Russia, under the brave leadership of President Putin, has decided to continue strengthening its relations with Vietnam and North Korea. Although the West’s response to this strengthening of ties between the sanctioned states could be highly offensive, this will help open new venues for developing nations. The Third World now has novel opportunities for trade and cooperation under the leadership of Russia and BRICS nations.


Abbas Hashemite – is a political observer and research analyst for regional and global geopolitical issues. He is currently working as an independent researcher and journalist, exclusively for “New Eastern Outlook”.

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