Updated Sep 5, 2023 - World

Kim Jong-un expected to make rare trip to Russia for Putin meeting

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vladivostok, Russia, in April 2019. Photo: Alexey Nikolsky/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un is set to travel to Russia this month to discuss with President Vladimir Putin supplying weapons for the Kremlin's war on Ukraine, the New York Times first reported Monday.

The big picture: News of Kim's rare trip abroad comes as Moscow officials said they're discussing inaugural joint naval exercises with their Pyongyang counterparts and after the White House expressed concern about deepening military ties between Russia and North Korea.

Driving the news: National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a statement that "arms negotiations" between Moscow and the Pyongyang "are actively advancing."

  • She said that U.S. officials had information that Kim "expects these discussions to continue, to include leader-level diplomatic engagement in Russia."
  • Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visited North Korea recently "to try to convince Pyongyang to sell artillery ammunition" to Russia and another group of Kremlin officials also traveled there, Watson said.
  • "We urge [Pyongyang] to cease its arms negotiations with Russia and abide by the public commitments that Pyongyang has made to not provide or sell arms to Russia," she added.

Of note: Kim traveled on his armored train to Vladivostok in Russia's far east to meet with Putin in 2019.

Go deeper: What Putin's partners gain from standing with Russia over Ukraine

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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