While Russia threatens to use its nuclear force against the United States and its allies if NATO moves more forces into the Baltic states or if attempts are made to return Crimea to Ukraine, it is apparently looking for new allies now.
As it was reported one month ago, Russia announced that the leader of North Korea Kim Jong Un is among 25 world leaders who have agreed to take part in the annual World War Two Victory Day celebration in May.
And as we get closer to the event, more news about it emerge. According to Russian state-run news agency TASS, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aide Yuri Ushakov said that North Korean representatives have recently confirmed that their dictator will be attending the World War 2 celebrations, which will be held in Moscow.
It will be Kim Jong Un’s first foreign trip since taking over as supreme leader of the scandalous and isolated country from his father, Kim Jong Il, who last visited Russia in 2011, just a few months before he died.
Furthermore, Kim Jong Un will meet with Putin as part of the visit, TASS reported.
“We’re ready for that, including individual bilateral talks with the Korean leader,” Ushakov told TASS.
The North Korean dictator’s trip has been anticipated since last December, when Russian media outlets reported that the Kremlin had sent an invitation to Pyongyang.
Diplomatic relations between the USSR and North Korea were established in 1948. Furthermore, both countries that are fond of dictatorship were close allies during the Cold War and cooperated against the United States.
The relations between the counties worsened after the collapse of the Soviet Union. However, there has been made a great progress in strengthening ties between Moscow and Pyongyang since 2000s. Could it mean that Russia requires help from its former ally during the Cold War to counter the United States?
Cuba, China, India, Mongolia, South Africa, Vietnam and other countries are also expected to attend the May 9 70th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War 2. And as of today, at least 25 states have agreed to attend the event.
The highlight of the Victory Day celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany will be a vast military parade in Moscow’s Red Square overseen by Putin. According to Russia’s defense minister, the annual event will be expanded this year to include 15,000 troops, cadets and Cossacks.
Kim Jong Un could get a Heart Attack
South Korean medical experts have recently expressed their concern over Kim Jong Un’s visible weight gain since becoming the leader of the state ruled by dictatorship in 2012.
They linked his obesity to stress and said the dictator is at high risk of a heart attack. His weight gain could be attributed to such factors as irregular activity, lack of exercise and overeating.
Therefore, Kim Jong Un’s scheduled visit to Russia could be explained by the concern over his own health and eagerness to drop a few pounds. On second thought, this kind of celebrations are always full of feasts, that’s why it is very unlikely Kim Jong Un will return to North Korea weighing less, if not more.
One anonymous South Korean doctor told Daily NK that Kim Jong Unhas a family history of heart attacks. Both his grandfather Kim Il Sung and father Kim Jong Il reportedly died from myocardial infarctions. Furthermore, if the North Korean leader is unlucky enough to suffer from high blood pressure, the risk of heart attack increases to 20 times.
Based on the doctor’s observations, it is possible that Kim’s “cholesterol levels are…off the charts,” and that he could be suffering from “metabolic syndrome, a hodgepodge of pre-diabetes symptoms such as high blood pressure, hyperlipidemia and obesity.”
But, well, if Putin gives Kim Jong Un a few lessons on martial arts during their meetings in May, the Korean dictator might avoid health issues.
In 2014 Kim Jong Un didn’t appear in public for 40 days and then re-emerged with a cane. Medical experts then said that the injury could be the result of gout or due to a broken ankle, as Sky News reported. Pyongyang later admitted the North Korean leader had suffered from “discomfort” without giving the specifics.
Russia and North Korean Get Closer to Fight US?
Putin said late last year that closer ties between Russia and North Korea, the two pariah countries, would help “ensure regional stability and security.” Russia is also planning joint military exercises with North Korea to take place in 2015.
In turn, North Korea named 2015 the year of North Korean-Russian friendship, with goals to increase trading to $1 billion a year. The North Korean state news agency said the initiative “was caused by their joint bid to achieve a higher level in political, economic and cultural relations.”
As part of their cooperation, Russian companies are conducting businesses at the inter-Korean industrial unit in Kaesong, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s border town. Alexandro Timonin, Russian ambassador to South Korea, said the Kremlin is prepared to start working in the Kaesong industrial zone as soon as possible.
North Korea is expected to gain financially and militarily from closer relations with Russia. In 2014 the Kremlin cancelled almost US $10 billion, or 90%, of North Korea’s bilateral debt and said it would invest the remaining $1.09bn – to be paid back over 20 years – in North Korea’s infrastructure projects such as a cross-border gas pipeline between Russia and the North, and a rail link to South Korea.
However, North Korea doesn’t have much to offer in terms of its economy. As has been repeatedly and expressly documented, one of its largest (if not the largest) exports is its own people, North Koreans, who have to work in third countries, with most of their wages paid not to them or to their families but to the North Korean government.