MOSCOW, September 11, 2023 – In a significant geopolitical development, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin during an official state visit, as announced by the Kremlin on Monday. This news, confirmed by North Korean state-run media, has raised concerns and prompted analysis about the implications of closer ties between two nations known for their adversarial stance toward the United States.
The Korean Central News Agency reported on Monday that “Our Dearest Comrade Kim Jong Un will be visiting Russia upon invitation from Russian President Vladimir Putin. During the visit, he will meet Putin and hold a summit.” The visit, long-anticipated, has been shrouded in secrecy, with Kim Jong Un reportedly departing Pyongyang in a bullet-proof train on Sunday night.
Moreover the train is expected to take a leisurely two days to arrive in the Russian city of Vladivostok, located on the North Korean border, with a journey speed of just 37 miles per hour. After arriving in Vladivostok, the train is expected to undergo modifications to accommodate Russian tracks. Coinciding with Kim’s visit, President Putin commenced a two-day trip to Vladivostok on Monday to attend an economic forum, according to Russia’s TASS news agency.
Rebekah Koffler, a strategic military intelligence analyst and former senior official at the Defense Intelligence Agency, expressed concerns over the strengthening relationship between Russia and North Korea, emphasizing its potential strategic implications for U.S. security. “Two of our top adversaries are joining forces, expanding military-industrial cooperation,” Koffler said.
She highlighted Russia’s extensive expertise in nuclear arms and space technology and expressed concerns about the sharing of this knowledge with North Korea, which could impact global security dynamics. Furthermore, the close relationships that both Russia and North Korea maintain with China add to these concerns.Koffler argued that the cooperation between the two nations could be mutually beneficial. Russia could provide North Korea with much-needed food supplies amid a deepening food crisis in the country and access to the COVID-19 vaccine.
In return, North Korea could potentially supply Russia with munitions to support its involvement in Ukraine. Koffler also pointed out that Russia could assist North Korea in enhancing its military-industrial technology base, particularly in the fields of nuclear, satellite, space launch, and missile technologies. Recent talks between Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin reportedly involve a plan for North Korea to send weapons supplies to Russia.
U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby commented on the situation, interpreting it as a sign of desperation by Putin. “We have new information, which we are able to share today, that arms negotiations between Russia and the DPRK are actively advancing,” Kirby stated. “Following these negotiations, high-level discussions may continue in the coming months. Now, among these potential deals, Russia would receive significant quantities and multiple types of munitions from the DPRK, which the Russian military plans to use in Ukraine.”However, Adrienne Watson, another
According to reports from Fox News, NSC spokesperson, emphasized that North Korea has previously expressed reluctance to sell arms to Russia, though the specifics of the reported trip remain unconfirmed. “As we have warned publicly, arms discussions between Russia and the DPRK are expected to continue during Kim Jong-Un’s trip to Russia. We urge the DPRK to abide by the public commitments that Pyongyang has made to not provide or sell arms to Russia,” Watson stated.
In addition to the potential strategic consequences, Koffler believes that the meeting between Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin sends a clear message of defiance to the West. “Another, less tangible benefit for the two dictators is that the Putin-Kim meeting is upsetting Washington,” Koffler noted. “Neither would miss an opportunity to irk the U.S.”
As Kim Jong Un’s visit to Russia unfolds, the world watches closely, with heightened concerns about the shifting geopolitical landscape and its implications for international security.
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Rep. Matt Gaetz Confronts Speaker McCarthy in Fiery House GOP Meeting
In a closed-door House GOP conference meeting on Thursday morning, tensions flared as Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) confronted Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), accusing him and his allies of orchestrating an online campaign against him with the help of “MAGA influencers.”
According to reports from Fox News, the exchange was marked by what was described as “fireworks.” Gaetz directly addressed McCarthy, alleging that “MAGA influencers” had been paid to attack him on social media. McCarthy promptly denied the accusation, dismissing Gaetz’s claims.
Speaker McCarthy dismissed Gaetz’s allegations, indicating that he had no intention of engaging in such activities. In the same meeting, another source revealed that McCarthy questioned Gaetz’s commitment to the GOP’s goals, pointing out that he was personally dedicating his efforts to allocate $5 million to support GOP candidates and members with the aim of strengthening their majority in the near future. McCarthy’s remark seemed to challenge Gaetz regarding his contributions toward achieving a stronger Republican majority.
In response to Gaetz’s allegations, some members of the GOP caucus expressed frustration. According to a second source, one lawmaker told Gaetz to “f— off,” while another referred to him as a “scumbag,” according to reports.
Gaetz confirmed the confrontation to reporters as he exited the meeting, explaining, “I asked him whether or not he was paying those influencers to post negative things about me online.” He also confirmed McCarthy’s response, saying, “Yeah, that is what he said.”
When asked about his feelings toward McCarthy during and after the exchange, Gaetz remarked, “My blood pressure is like 120 over 80. So I’m feeling great.”
A spokesperson for Speaker McCarthy categorically denied any involvement in the alleged online campaign, attributing it to a Democrat-backed entity. In support of this claim, Fox News Digital reportedly obtained a screenshot of a cease-and-desist email sent by McCarthy’s outside lawyer to the individuals allegedly behind the campaign.
Furthermore, the email asserted that the campaign falsely claimed to act on behalf of Speaker McCarthy and his affiliated entities and warned of legal consequences if the actions continued.
The exchange in the House GOP meeting underscores the ongoing tension between Gaetz and McCarthy. Gaetz has been threatening to force a House-wide vote on McCarthy’s speakership, alleging violations of a deal struck to secure McCarthy’s election as Speaker in January.
Under the terms of that compromise, McCarthy agreed to allow any lawmaker to trigger a vote on his removal, known as a “motion to vacate.” While Gaetz had hinted at pursuing such a motion earlier in the week, he sidestepped questions on the matter during the recent meeting with reporters.
In the midst of this contentious atmosphere, Gaetz emphasized his current focus on advancing single-subject spending bills, deflecting inquiries regarding the motion to vacate and maintaining his dedication to legislative efforts.
The confrontation between Gaetz and McCarthy underscores the complex dynamics within the Republican caucus as it navigates internal divisions and confronts ongoing challenges on Capitol Hill.
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