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Here's what happened in Kim Jong Un's meeting with Putin

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Seven time zones east of Moscow today, Russian President Vladimir Putin greeted the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un. Russia had announced Kim was coming for this summit of two authoritarians, but details of the meeting's timing and location were kept secret until Kim's arrival in his armored train after a two-day journey from Pyongyang. NPR's Charles Maynes reports from Moscow that each leader is looking to gain something from the other.

CHARLES MAYNES, BYLINE: Kim's state visit came at Putin's invitation. And the setting, once revealed, was clearly designed to impress. North Korea had recently failed to place its own spy satellites into orbit, so Putin chose the venue of Russia's new Vostochny Cosmodrome for the summit, welcoming Kim with a warm handshake and, later, a personal tour.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: (Non-English language spoken).

MAYNES: As Putin looked on, officials from Roscosmos, the Russian space agency told Kim about the latest in Russian space technology. In fact, before Kim's arrival, Putin told reporters Russia would help North Korea's quest to launch a satellite. That's why we're here, said Putin. The North Korean leader showed a big interest in rocket technology. In turn, Kim was full of praise for his host. Speaking through an interpreter in official remarks before the press, Kim fully endorsed Russia's invasion of Ukraine, calling it part of a sacred struggle to defend Russia against Western imperialism. The day ended with a state dinner and remarks from both leaders.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

SUPREME LEADER KIM JONG UN: (Speaking Korean).

MAYNES: Through an interpreter, Kim toasted Putin's health...

(SOUNDBITE OF CHAIRS MOVING)

MAYNES: ...And the crowd rose to its feet as Kim called for a Russian victory in Ukraine and offered assurances of North Korean solidarity in Moscow's struggle to protect what he called the sovereign right of security.

KONSTANTIN ASMOLOV: (Non-English language spoken).

MAYNES: Reached by phone, analyst Konstantin Asmolov of the Center for the Study of China and Modern Asia in Moscow, calls the gathering an important event. He says it shows Moscow and Pyongyang can find creative approaches to work together when confronted by what he calls the collective West. Moreover, a Asmolov says it's a partnership forged not only from the war in Ukraine, but North Korea's own concerns over new trilateral alliance between the U.S., Japan and South Korea unveiled in Washington last month.

ASMOLOV: (Non-English language spoken).

MAYNES: "This is a reaction," said Asmolov, "to the formation of South Korea's new power triangle." The summit came despite warnings from the U.S. and its allies that Russia was in danger of violating U.N. sanctions against North Korea, which Russia itself voted to impose. North Korea is under multiple sanctions for its illegal missile and nuclear weapons programs. Western officials worry Russia might offer its advanced technology, for example, in rocketry, in exchange for access to North Korea's massive munitions stores to replenish its arms for the war in Ukraine. But if such a deal was struck, the terms remain out of the public eye.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: (Speaking Russian).

MAYNES: In comments to state media after the summit concluded, Putin acknowledged Russia faced, quote, "certain restrictions" from the U.N. but that possibilities for military cooperation with North Korea existed.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PUTIN: (Speaking Russian).

MAYNES: "There are things, of course, we can talk about," said Putin, "and we're discussing the prospects within the existing rules," a comment likely to induce some anxiety in South Korea, Ukraine and elsewhere given the stakes at play.

Yet even as Putin was praising deepening ties with North Korea, he insisted it was too early to judge the ultimate outcome of Kim's visit. Kim now heads to inspect additional Russian military and civilian aviation factories, as well as the Pacific Fleet in Vladivostok. Having arrived to Russia's premier Cosmodrome direct by train and under cover of night, the North Korean leader's meandering journey home is as close as he gets to taking the scenic view.

Charles Maynes, NPR News, Moscow.

(SOUNDBITE OF PICOTHEGUYYO SONG, "ONE EPISODE AT A TIME") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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