(NEW YORK) — North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin met for about five hours on Wednesday, touring a space base in Russia’s Far East and signaling a unified front against the West.
“I am so grateful you are paying such attention to our visit to Russia,” Putin said at the Vostochny Cosmodrome, adding, “I’m sure we will remain together in our fight against imperialism.”
The North Korean leader said his country supported Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine.
“Russia has risen to a sacred fight to its sovereignty and security against the hegemonic forces,” he said. “North Korea supports all Putin’s decisions.”
The two had been expected during the summit to discuss a trade deal that may include North Korea supplying Russia with ammunition, which may be used in the ongoing invasion of Ukraine. Those talks had been “actively advancing” ahead of the sit-down, a U.S. official told ABC News last week.
The high-level summit began at about 2:30 p.m. local time, coming after days of speculation over when and where the meeting would take place. The Kremlin, which announced on Monday that the meeting was planned, had said on Tuesday it would take place in the coming days.
Kim left Pyongyang on Sunday night, travelling into Russia on a slow-moving train that crossed the border into far eastern Russia Tuesday.
Putin on Monday began a two-day trip to Vladivostok, a port city near eastern Russia’s border with North Korea, where he attended an economic forum, Russia’s TASS news agency said.
Putin greeted Kim in front of the building on Wednesday.
Both leaders arrived for the summit with entourages. Kim’s included his sister, Kim Yo Jong. He was also joined by Pak Jong Chon, a top aide, and Ri Pyong Chol, commander of the Korean Peoples Army. Putin arrived with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Foreign Minster Sergei Lavrov.
“I’m very glad to see you,” Putin said upon greeting Kim, according to RIA News, a state-run media outlet.
The two shook hands and walked inside, where Kim later signed a visitor’s book, writing, “Glory to Russia.”
ABC News’ Shannon Crawford and Ben Gittleson contributed to this story.
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