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Kim Jong Un vows full support for Russia as Putin pledges space tech for North Korea

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un promised his full support for Russian President Vladimir Putin in what he called a “fight against imperiaIism” in a summit in Russia, saying the countries’ relations are a “top priority.”

Putin offered North Korea technological assistance to launch a satellite into space and said there are “possibilities” for miIitary cooperation between them.

The meeting, which lasted more than four hours Wednesday in Russia’s Far East, showed how geopolitical tensions have brought the two neighbors isolated by the West into closer alignment. It comes as the United States has warned that Putin and Kim could strike an a ms deal that would provide North Korean munitions for Russia’s ar in Ukraine.

South Korea’s intelligence agency believes that Russia has already raised with North Korea the possibility of three-way naval exercises, including China.

Russia and North Korea can cooperate militarily “within the framework of the current rules,” Putin told the Russia 1 TV network, after his talks with Kim and his delegation.

Kim traveled from North Korea by train, in his first trip abroad since the pandemic began and the North sealed its borders. The two last met in Russia in 2019.

Putin hosted Kim at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia’s Far East, where Russian space agency officials briefed Kim on their work.

Asked if Russia would help North Korea with its satellites, Putin was quoted by Russian media as saying that was why Vostochny was chosen as the venue for their meeting. North Korea failed twice this year to put a spy satellite in orbit, but says it will try again next month.

North Korea did, however, highlight advances in its weaponry, launching two short-range ballistic missiles just hours before the summit, the first time it has conducted such a test while Kim was out of the country.

There was no public mention at Wednesday’s summit of Russia-North Korea cooperation on missiles. But both satellites and missiles rely on dual-use rocket technology, and the U.S. and its allies have argued that North Korea uses space programs as cover for weapons tests, in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions.

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