North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is returning to North Korea on Sunday, capping a six-day visit to Russia that sparked global alarm over prospective arms trade deals between the two countries, both of which are engaged in separate battles with Western countries.
Kim’s armoured train set off from Artyom, a Russian city in Russia’s far east, around 124 miles from the North Korean border.
The goodbye ceremony included the Russian patriotic march hymn “Farewell of Slavianka” and was attended by key authorities such as Russia’s Minister of Natural Resources Alexander Kozlov and Primorye regional Governor Oleg Kozhemyako.
A Russian military band played the national anthems of both North Korea and Russia throughout the ceremony.
Observers expect Kim to return to Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital, on Monday afternoon.
Kim met with President Vladimir Putin and saw important military and technology sites during his visit to Russia, which began last Tuesday and was his first abroad trip in nearly four years.
These steps highlight the two countries’ growing defence cooperation in reaction to their separate, mounting conflicts with the US and its allies.
Foreign officials and analysts have indicated that North Korea may trade vital munitions in return for advanced Russian weapons technology that may boost Kim’s nuclear goals.
Analysts believe North Korea has a large stockpile of ageing artillery rounds and rockets, mostly based on Soviet designs, which might potentially help Russian forces in Ukraine.
According to reports, both sides are firing thousands of artillery rounds per day during the fight.
Experts believe that North Korea would demand economic support, food aid, and access to technologies needed to create upgraded missile systems, a nuclear-powered submarine, and a surveillance satellite in exchange for selling conventional weapons to Russia.
North Korea has officially stated its desire to acquire such high-tech military equipment, citing what it sees as growing hostilities headed by the United States.
Kim had spent the day earlier on Sunday touring a university and watching a walrus show at a Russian aquarium.
Russian state media broadcast video of Kim and his top officials interacting with Russian colleagues via interpreters at the Far Eastern Federal University campus on Russky Island.
During his visit to the Primorsky Aquarium on the island, Russia’s largest, Kim witnessed shows starring beluga whales, bottlenose dolphins, fur seals, and a walrus named “Misha,” which he appeared to like, according to Russian media.
Governor Kozhemyako of Primorye announced the visit of a delegation from Russia’s Far East to North Korea. The mission will comprise specialists from diverse areas such as trade, tourism, and agriculture, according to Russian official media, however the specific time of the travel to North Korea has yet to be confirmed.
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