Kim Jong-un and President Vladimir Putin have arrived for talks at Vostochny cosmodrome in Russia’s far east, just hours after North Korea fired two ballistic missiles towards the sea.
“I am glad to see you,” Mr Putin said as he shook Mr Kim’s hand for around 40 seconds. “This is our new cosmodrome.”
Their meeting came as North Korea fired two weapons and as the Sevastopol Shipyard in Russian-annexed Crimea was set on fire after a Ukrainian missile attack.
Japan’s Coast Guard, citing Tokyo’s Defence Ministry, said the missile likely has landed but still urged vessels that may be travelling or moored around Japan’s coast to watch out for falling objects.
Mr Kim and Mr Putin are expected to discuss an arms deal, with Moscow seeking ammunition and artillery for use in the Ukraine war.
The North Korean leader arrived for Wednesday’s talks by limousine, after taking his armoured train to Russia’s far east on Tuesday, where he was greeted with a red carpet reception and a marching band.
North Korea’s missile launch is the first to occur while Mr Kim was abroad for a rare trip, analysts told the Reuters news agency.
All of North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons activities are banned by United Nations Security Council resolutions that were last passed with the support of Pyongyang’s partners in China and Russia in 2017.
Since then, Beijing and Moscow have called for sanctions to be eased on the North to jumpstart diplomatic talks and improve the humanitarian situation.
Their meeting also comes as the Sevastopol Shipyard in Russian-annexed Crimea was set on fire after a Ukrainian missile attack.
Mikhail Razvozhayev, Moscow-appointed governor of the port city posted a photo of the fire with smoke billowing over it. The Sevastopol Shipyard is of strategic importance to Russia as vessels in its Black Sea fleet are being repaired there.
More to follow