Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un may each have something the other wants — a dangerous combination as far as the US is concerned.
A meeting that may be in the works between the Russian and North Korean autocrats could have an impact on the war in Ukraine, complicate Washington’s repeatedly failed efforts to rein in Pyongyang’s nuclear program, and play into the wider geopolitical chess game unfolding in the Pacific in which China is the major player.
Washington has reacted to the possibility of the meeting — which could possibly take place after Kim climbs aboard his armored train headed for the Russian far east — by mocking Putin, warning North Korea and trying to work out what it might mean.
Russia may be looking to Kim to replenish its ammunition and artillery supplies as the war in Ukraine grinds into another bloody winter. Pyongyang is also adept at drone and missile technology.
Kim, meanwhile, knows that Russia is a longtime and sophisticated nuclear power whose expertise could help his own expanding program. It’s also a big oil supplier, and North Korea and Russia are both living under punishing Western sanctions and restrictions on their access to the global market. If they can help each other ease the pain of blockades, they may be able to do business.
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