North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un Inspects Russia Hypersonic Missiles, Warships

Vladivostok: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspected Russian nuclear-capable strategic bombers, hypersonic missiles and warships on Saturday, accompanied by President Vladimir Putin’s defence minister.

A smiling Kim Jong Un was greeted in Russia’s Knevichi airfield, about 50 km (30 miles) from the Pacific port city of Vladivostok, by Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, who saluted him. The North Korean leader then inspected a guard of honour.

The United States and South Korea fear the revival of Moscow’s friendship with Pyongyang could give Kim access to some of Russia’s sensitive missile and other technology while helping arm Russia in its war in Ukraine.

Sergei Shoigu showed Kim Russia’s strategic bombers – the Tu-160, Tu-95 and Tu-22M3 – which are capable of carrying nuclear weapons and form the backbone of Russia’s nuclear air attack force, Russia’s defence ministry said.

“It can fly from Moscow to Japan and then back again,” Sergei Shoigu told Kim of one aircraft.

Kim Jong Un was shown asking about how the missiles were fired from the aircraft, at times nodding and smiling.

Shoigu showed him the MiG-31I supersonic interceptor aircraft equipped with “Kinzhal” hypersonic missiles. The Kinzhal, or dagger, is an air-launched ballistic missile capable of carrying nuclear or conventional warheads.

It has a reported range of 1,500 to 2,000 km (930-1,240 miles) while carrying a payload of 480 kg (1,100 pounds). It may travel at up to 10 times the speed of sound (12,000 kph, 7,700 mph).

Russia’s ambassador to North Korea, Alexander Matsegora, told reporters that Kim’s programme was “very intense” and that it was not yet clear how long he would remain in Russia, Russian state news agency RIA reported.

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