Putin visits North Korea

RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 19 Jun 2024 by Alex Teddy

On May 18 Putin arrived in the country for the first time since 2000. For a long time North Korea was unimportant to Russia. It mattered much more to trade with North Korea's regional foes: South Korea and Japan. All that changed in 2022. Russia needs shells and other military hardware. North Korea's munitions are all Russian designed. North Korea needs oil and food. Both countries are heavily sanctioned. Russia has helped North Korea get around these sanctions. The North Korean leader greeted Putin at the airport even though it was 3 am. That is an indication how vital Russia is to North Korea. Russia has long been its second biggest trade partner. Putin was accompanied by cabinet ministers and the head of the Russian space agency. This is probably because Russia is rumored to be helping North Korea with satellites.  The main day of the state visit will be June 19. Putin will visit the only Orthodox church in the country. There are North Koreans working in Russia despite this being against sanctions that Russia voted. They are paid below the minimum wage, and some of their salaries goes to the North Korean government. There is conjecture that Russia wants to recruit more laborers from North Korea because of the increasing difficulty of getting people even from poverty-stricken Central Asian countries to work in remote and inhospitable regions of Russia.

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