North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin for an official state visit, the Kremlin announced Monday.
North Korean state-run media confirmed the visit in a report Monday, with Kim expected to meet with Putin in the next few days, according to a report from ABC News.
“Our Dearest Comrade Kim Jong Un will be visiting Russia upon invitation from Russian President Vladimir Putin. During the visit he will meet Putin and hold a summit,” the Korean Central News Agency said, according to the report.
A bullet-proof train believed to be carrying the North Korean leader departed Pyongyang on Sunday night, the report said, citing a South Korean official. The train is expected to take two days to arrive in the Russian city of Vladivostok on the North Korean border, a 683-mile journey that will be taken at just 37 miles per hour. From there, the train is expected to be outfitted with new wheels that will allow it to travel on Russian tracks. Putin also began a two-day trip to Vladivostok on Monday for an economic forum, according to Russia’s TASS news agency.
Rebekah Koffler, a strategic military intelligence analyst, former senior official at the Defense Intelligence Agency and author of “Putin’s Playbook,” told Fox News Digital the closer ties between Russia and North Korea will have “huge strategic implications for U.S. security.”
“Two of our top adversaries are joining forces, expanding military-industrial cooperation,” Koffler said. “Russia possesses one of the world’s most extensive know-how in nuclear arms and space technology. The fact that it will be sharing this know-how with North Korea is not a good thing for the United States. The fact that these two adversaries also have a close relationship with China makes matters even worse.”
Koffler believes the cooperation between North Korea and Russia will be mutually beneficial for both countries, noting that Russia can provide North Korea with food amid a deepening food crisis in the country and access to the COVID-19 vaccine. Meanwhile, North Korea will be able to provide Russia with munitions to maintain the country’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia can also help North Korea militarily, Koffler said.
“Russia, as one of the world’s leaders in nuclear, satellite, space launch, and missile technologies, can help North Korea beef up its military-industrial technology base,” Koffler noted. “It is no coincidence that North Korea recently unveiled its new tactical nuclear attack submarine. North Korea growing its arsenal of weapons of mass destruction is obviously not in the U.S. interest.”
Talks between Kim and Putin involving a plan for North Korea to send weapons supplies to Russia have been “actively advancing,” U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby, said last month, arguing that it was a sign of desperation by Putin.
“We have new information, which we are able to share today, that arms negotiations between Russia and the DPRK are actively advancing,” Kirby said. “Following these negotiations, high level discussions may continue in coming months. Now, among these potential deals, Russia would receive significant quantities and multiple types of munitions from the DPRK, which the Russian military plans to use in Ukraine.”
Adrienne Watson, a NSC spokesperson, noted that although they have yet to confirm the specific details of the reported trip, that North Korea has in the past expressed that they were not willing to sell arms to Russia.
“As we have warned publicly, arms discussions between Russia and the DPRK are expected to continue during Kim Jong-Un’s trip to Russia. We urge the DPRK to abide by the public commitments that Pyongyang has made to not provide or sell arms to Russia,” Watson told Fox News Digital.
Meanwhile, Koffler believes the two sides meeting sends a clear message of defiance to the West.
“Another, less tangible benefit for the two dictators is that the Putin-Kim meeting is upsetting Washington,” Koffler said. “Neither would miss an opportunity to irk the U.S.”