Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday he has plans to visit the Vostochny Cosmodrome, in the Amur province of Russia’s Far East, amid speculation this is where he may meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
While speaking at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok on Tuesday, Putin was asked by a moderator if he had plans to visit the space center. Putin replied, “I have plans there. You will know when I arrive.”
Putin said neither when he would visit nor what he would do while there.
This comes after South Korean news agency Yonhap reported Tuesday that the train believed to be carrying Kim appears to be moving in a more northerly direction beyond Vladivostok, and towards Khabarovsk province bordering China instead, citing multiple local sources in Vladivostok.
Amur province, where Vostochny Cosmodrome is located, lies just northwest of Khabarovsk province.
North Korea and Russia have both confirmed Kim Jong Un has entered Russia on his heavily armored private green train.
Possible arms talks: US officials have repeatedly warned that North Korean and Russia are “actively advancing” arms negotiations, which could lead to Pyongyang selling weapons to Russia in exchange for sanctioned ballistic missile technology.
Analysts also warn that North Korea could seek improved launch capabilities for submarine-launched ballistic missiles, satellite reconnaissance capabilities, and even help with launching satellites.
North Korea has attempted two satellite launches this year; both ended in failure.
Were Kim to get his hands on technology from Russia, a world leader in nuclear missile forces for decades, it would be a great boost for his programs and a great concern for leaders in the West, analysts say.
Moscow, in turn, badly needs fresh supplies of ammunition and small arms on the front lines in Ukraine, after more than 18 months of war have left its military battered. These are areas where analysts say North Korea has strong production capabilities.