Kim Jong-Un on a visit to Russia holds a summit with Putin…to be dispatched to the Ukrainian front, a surprising role “imposed on 50,000 North Korean soldiers”. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Kim Jong-Un on a visit to Russia holds a summit with Putin…to be dispatched to the Ukrainian front, a surprising role “imposed on 50,000 North Korean soldiers”.

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North Korea is increasing its military power year by year. Photo taken at the Sun Festival in April ’17 (PHOTO: Reuters/Afro)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un was in a good mood as he left Pyongyang on a private train.

On September 10, he boarded the train dressed in a dark-colored civilian uniform and smiled at the officials who saw him off. He arrived in Russia and is scheduled to hold a summit meeting with President Vladimir Putin on September 13.

It is the first time in four and a half years, since April ’19, that the leaders of Russia and the DPRK have met. They are also expected to hold one-on-one discussions if necessary. Both countries have agreed that they want to strengthen cooperation because both countries are facing opposition and sanctions from the West due to the invasion of Ukraine and the development of long-range missiles.

This is probably the meeting that both leaders have been waiting for. President Putin requested ammunition and weapons that are in short supply on the Ukrainian front. Kim Jong-Un, on the other hand, is expected to ask for technical assistance for missiles and a new submarine,” said a Moscow-based reporter for a national newspaper.

Naturally, they are talking.

The two leaders are not only talking directly with each other. They are also exploring military exercises. According to Russia’s Interfax news agency, Defense Minister Shoigu was asked by reporters on September 4 about the possibility of joint military exercises with North Korea.

North Korea is our neighbor. Naturally, we are discussing it. (Russia also conducts joint military exercises with China, and we have joint patrols by strategic bombers.

If military relations deepen, the situation could go one step further. There is a possibility that North Korea will send its troops to the Ukrainian front. One TV, a Russian state-run television station, reported that North Korean volunteer soldiers are preparing to join the war. Itsuro Nakamura, a professor emeritus at Tsukuba University and an expert on the situation in Russia, said, “According to Russian media outlets, the North Koreans are preparing to join the war.

According to Russian media, some 50,000 soldiers may be dispatched from North Korea to Ukraine if President Putin requests it. However, even if this were to happen, it would be difficult for them to actually participate in the fighting. Differences in language and chain of command will be a barrier, and it is unlikely that North Korean troops will be able to deploy smoothly.

North Korean soldiers will be assigned a surprising role. Nakamura continues.

“I think they will be assigned to build bridges, buildings, and other structures in the Russian-occupied cities of eastern Ukraine. The aim is to rebuild the infrastructure that was destroyed in the fighting and to showcase Russia’s reconstruction of Ukraine. North Korean workers are highly valued in Russia.

I have talked to Russian construction industry people in Vladivostok. They said, “North Korean workers are very punctual. North Korean workers are punctual and serious. They go back to work as soon as their break time is over. Moreover, wages are low. Russians would demand higher wages and steal things from the work site if they are not monitored.

Expectations are growing in Russia for closer ties with North Korea. If the Korean People’s Army dispatches soldiers, the situation in Ukraine may also enter a new phase.

  • PHOTO. Reuters/Afro

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