MOSCOW — Most Russian observers describe North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's visit to Russia as historic and not like all visits, a characterization reinforced by statements from the Kremlin that stressed the "sensitivity" of issues Kim discussed with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

Although the two leaders' meeting, which took place at the Far Eastern University in Vladivostok, where the Eastern Economic Forum took place a few days ago, the bilateral character was the most prominent amid frequent talk of a new turn in relations between the two countries, each of which faces special and common challenges with the United States, which has begun to escalate its military activities in the Asia-Pacific region.

Moscow is aware that NATO's eastward expansion led to the crisis in Ukraine, and therefore, repeating the same scenario in the Pacific is necessary to prepare for by strengthening cooperation with Pyongyang, according to Russian observers.

Russian experts expect comprehensive development in military cooperation with Pyongyang (Reuters)


Over the past few years, Russia has intensified its contacts with North Korea, holding a summit between the leaders of the two countries in 2019, and in July this year, Pyongyang visited Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko.

Although Russia opposes tightening sanctions on North Korea, it has not yet sought to lift existing U.N. sanctions, as previous statements by Russian officials suggest.

But based on the results of the visit, Russian experts expect Moscow to do everything possible for a comprehensive development of cooperation with Pyongyang, most notably in the military, trade and economic fields.

After its relations with the West have effectively collapsed, Russia is gaining more latitude in its foreign policy, which will give it the possibility to take new steps related to rapprochement with North Korea that it was unable to take before, according to international affairs analyst Sergei Bersanov.

Bersanov confirms to Al Jazeera Net that Kim's visit is not just a show step showing rapprochement between the two countries, but the beginning of a new phase in relations.

He adds that after Pyongyang directly supported the Russian military operation in Ukraine, the United States, Europe, South Korea and Japan imposed sanctions on it, but Russia did not pay attention to the position of these countries regarding their relations with North Korea and begin to develop them.


For his part, Reserve Colonel Victor Baranitis believes that strengthening communication with North Korea "is an important but difficult issue, because it is not easy to bypass the Security Council sanctions resolutions against Pyongyang, as well as Seoul's position," he tells Al Jazeera Net.

Adding to the "obstacles" category is Russia's long-standing support for UN sanctions on Pyongyang, which may cast a shadow on the possibilities of developing cooperation, not only in the military field, but also in the field of promoting trade, as this could run into serious legal difficulties.

This explains the difficulty of achieving tangible results within the framework of the meeting between the two leaders, especially since the recent visit of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to Pyongyang ended without signing any documents or a public statement on the decisions taken.

Paranitz pointed out that the rivalry between the great powers in the Asia-Pacific region is gradually increasing, which raises the importance of the North Korean ally "ready to fight in this region."

In his view, this would make it possible to create a complete triangle between Moscow, Beijing and Pyongyang, as a kind of response to the evolution of the Washington, Tokyo and Seoul triangle.

Korean affairs expert Konstantin Asmolov focuses on the deteriorating situation in the Asia-Pacific region as an important factor in the current bilateral dialogue, which will give the Putin-Kim understandings great potential.

He tells Al Jazeera Net that the United States "– of course – will not favor rapprochement between Russia and North Korea, but most likely, will take complaints about this summit their place in the discourse of American politicians, but there is no need to pay special attention to this matter."

North Korean leader meets Russian president days ago on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum (Reuters)


As for military cooperation between the two countries, Asmolov believes that "it will be in accordance with the principle of barter, as Russia can give Pyongyang nuclear submarines, help it develop missiles to strengthen its presence in the Pacific and Asia, as well as sell advanced aircraft."

In contrast, North Korea has a "dangerous" military manufacturing complex, an enormous arsenal of weapons, and much that can be offered to Moscow in the light of the Western system's increase in military support for Kiev, the latest package of which included the supply of depleted uranium.