Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un finally met up today at the Vostochny spaceport in the far east Amur region of Russia. 

The two leaders greeted each other at the entrance to a launch assembly building, with Putin telling Kim he was “happy to see” him while Kim is reported to have thanked the Russian leader for inviting him, “despite being busy.”

Talks between the two leaders lasted up to five hours and are understood to have covered a range of sensitive subjects including the North Korean leader offering help with arms in return for food. 

It was a rare trip abroad for Kim, his first in four years. Kim gave Putin his support for the Russian war effort by claiming: “Russia has risen to a sacred fight to protect its sovereignty and security against the hegemonic forces.” This diplomatic equivalent of a loving embrace was further shown by the seniority of the teams accompanying them on the summit.  

Putin brought defence minister Sergei Shoigu as well as his foreign minister Sergei Lavrov while Kim was joined by Kim Yo Jong, his powerful sister, Ri Pyong, the commander of the Korean People’s Army and Jo Chun Ryong, the director of North Korea’s Munitions Industry Department.

Such a show of strength from both teams suggests the level of urgency placed on the talks by the two leaders but also how much these two new best friends need each other as North Korea loosens its ties with China. The summit ended with the two leaders feasting on Russian “pelmeni” dumplings made with Kamchatka crab, followed by a choice of sturgeon or an entrecote of marbled beef, with red bilberries from the Taiga for dessert, paired with wines from the Divnomorskoe Manor in southern Russia.

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