Putin, Kim meet, hold short talks at Russia's Vostochny Cosmodrome
The Russian and DPRK leaders arrive at Russia's spaceport to hold a brief meeting and inspect the facilities.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and the leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Kim Jong Un met shortly on Wednesday at Russia's Vostochny Cosmodrome in the far east Amur region.
"Thank you for inviting us, despite your tight schedule," Kim told Putin during the brief talks.
Putin, welcoming Kim, said, "Dear Mr. Chairman! I am very glad to see and welcome you again in Russia - this time, as we agreed, at our Vostochny cosmodrome."
"We are proud of how this sector is developing here, and this is our new facility. I hope both you and your colleagues find this interesting," he added.
"Our meeting is taking place at a very special time, after all. Most recently, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea celebrated 75 years of its creation and foundation. 75 years of establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries. Let me remind you that it was our country that was the first to recognize the sovereign independent state – the Democratic People's Republic of Korea."
"Then very soon we will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the end of the War of independence and the victory of the Korean people in this war. This is a landmark date, because our country also helped our friends in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to fight for this independence."
With these words, the Russian President welcomed the DPRK leader.
A meeting ceremony was organized at the main entrance to the assembly and test building of the spaceport to receive the two leaders who are set to inspect the recently built facilities.
President Vladimir Putin shook hands with the DPRK leader, as per images released by the Kremlin, kicking off the meeting.
With his accompanying delegation that suggested a strong military focus for the summit, the DPRK leader traveled overland to Russia in his bullet-proof train, the official Korean Central News Agency reported.
Kim thanked Putin for inviting him to visit, despite the Russian leader's "busy schedule", having earlier stressed the trip showed DPRK was "prioritizing the strategic importance" of its Russia ties.
"I express my gratitude to you for paying such attention to our visit to Russia," the DPRK leader said, hailing the role the Soviet Union played "in the liberation of our country."
"Our friendship has deep roots, and now relations with the Russian Federation are the first priority for our country. I am sure that our meeting will be the next step to take relations to a new level," Kim stressed.
"Russia has risen to a sacred fight to protect its sovereignty and security... against the hegemonic forces," Kim told Putin via a translator.
"We will always support the decisions of President Putin and the Russian leadership... and we will be together in the fight against imperialism."
The two leaders are meeting at the Vostochny Cosmodrome, a Russian spaceport some 1,000 kilometers from Vladivostok.
Putin said the location was chosen as Moscow plans to help DPRK with its satellite programs, RIA Novosti reported.
"The leader of the DPRK shows great interest in rocket technology, and they are trying to develop (their presence in) space," Putin said.
When asked by reporters whether military cooperation would be on the agenda, Putin's answer was, "We'll talk about all the issues, without haste. There is time."
Putin and Kim inspected the launch facility of the Soyuz-2 space rocket complex at the spaceport, a Sputnik correspondent reported.
The two leaders have also inspected the process of construction of the launch facility of the Angara space rocket complex, which started in 2019.
Kim wrote in a visitor book, "The glory to Russia, which gave birth to the first space conquerors, will be immortal."
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu -- who visited Pyongyang in July and has recently mooted bilateral joint naval drills -- will take part in the negotiations, Putin's press secretary Dmitry Peskov said, RIA Novosti and TASS reported.
Kim is accompanied by top military officials including Korean People's Army Marshal Pak Jong Chon and Munitions Industry Department Director Jo Chun Ryong, KCNA has said.
Russia and DPRK's communication is back on a pre-Covid track with dialogue "actively developing", Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova told TASS earlier.
"Our contacts are developing literally on a daily basis in a number of areas."
Putin arrived at the the cosmodrome earlier in the day on Wednesday and was then followed by Kim who traveled to the site.
On Tuesday, KCNA reported confirmed that Kim Jong Un departed by special train on September 10 and is now on his way to Russia at the invitation of President Vladimir Putin, accompanied by senior government officials.
Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov stated on Monday that the two leaders will discuss matters pertaining to bilateral relations, adding that Putin will host an official dinner in honor of his visit.
On Tuesday, Peskov continued to say that the meeting will occur in the Far East. "We are not yet saying [where exactly], in the [Russian] Far East," Peskov told reporters. He did however add earlier that "Both negotiations between delegations and, if necessary, face-to-face meetings [are planned]".
"There are no press conferences planned," he noted.