Kim gets a close look at Russian fighter jets as his tour narrows its focus to weapons
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspected Russia’s most advanced fighter jet as he toured an aircraft factory Friday on an extended trip that has raised concerns about banned weapons transfer deals between the increasingly isolated countries.
Since entering Russia aboard his armoured train on Tuesday, Kim has met President Vladimir Putin and visited weapons and technology sites, underscoring deepening ties between the two nations locked in separate confrontations with the West. Foreign governments and experts speculate Kim will likely supply ammunition to Russia for its war efforts in Ukraine in exchange for receiving advanced weapons or technology from Russia.
On Friday, Russia’s state media published video showing Kim’s train pulling into a station in the far eastern city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur. An Associated Press journalist saw Kim’s convoy, his limousine sporting the Russian and North Korean flags, sweeping out of the station on the way to the aircraft factory.
Russia’s Cabinet later released video showing Kim, on an elevated platform, looking at the cockpit of the Su-57 – Russia’s most sophisticated fighter jet – while listening to its pilot. Kim beamed and clapped his hands when a Su-35 fighter jet landed after a demonstration flight.
According to a Russian Cabinet statement, Kim visited a facility producing Sukhoi SJ-100 passenger planes as well, accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov.
“We have shown one of our leading aircraft plants to the leader of (North Korea),” Manturov said in the statement. “We are seeing potential for cooperation in the aircraft-making and other industries, which is particularly acute for solving our countries’ task of achieving technological sovereignty.”
Kim travels next to Vladivostok to view Russia’s Pacific fleet, a university and other facilities, Putin told Russian media after he met with Kim on Wednesday.