Going from North Korea to Russia isn’t that difficult of a feat. The countries share enough border that it’s reasonably easy to slip in. Hopping on his armored train, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un set off for an unknown location in Russia on September 10th. Accompanied by multiple party and governmental officials, he never traveled lightly and brought a whole circus of people along for the ride.
With both leaders in extended conflicts with the West or its allies, they each are in deep need of assistance. Kim is expected to request significant economic aid as well as military technology Kim can bring back to North Korea. Unable to make nuclear and missile progress or even accomplish launching another spy satellite, Kim is largely stuck on his “self-defense” mission and unable to achieve any success, even in the modest sense of the word. In response, Kim can provide Putin with the arms and rounds he needs to continue his offensive.
Both sides gain a way around UN and US sanctions, as neither entity is involved in Kim’s crossing the border, nor will anyone make them stop. Sure, the UN could condemn the activity and try to impose more economic sanctions, but quite simply, neither leader cares.
Stopping the train as it crossed the border into Khasan, Kim was treated to a full military honor guard as well as a full brass band. Regional Gov. Oleg Kozhemyako and Natural Resources Minister Alexander Kozlov were there to meet the dear leader as well. Many assumed he would be meeting Putin in Vladivostok, near the border and where the two have met before.
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Having previously taken a three-week trip to Moscow with all the luxury one could imagine on board, Kim and others enjoyed the finest as they made their 2019 trip, as many of their fellow North Koreans starved. Now after the pandemic, those trips have become even more expensive, with him sending out an advanced rail train to scout the lines and look for danger, as well as a trailing train with guards to defend the dear leader.
Leading the mission from his private cars with flat-screen TVs and outfitted with the finest surveillance equipment he could buy, Kim stands by. Ready to move across the landscape at a moment’s notice, a simple drone or well-placed rocket could easily destroy his train, but alas, nobody is willing to take such a risk. Even though this could potentially free the people of North Korea, there is no leader on earth willing to undertake such a risk.
Committing this act on Russian soil would present a whole other list of problems. Problems that Putin could not simply ignore, and given his relationship with Kim, it would be detrimental to do so. As such, that leaves the US and every other nation on the planet left stuck doing nothing because doing something would only cause more problems.
With Kim Jon Un’s father, Kim Jong Il, unwilling to travel by air, it became expected that the royal family would travel by train. However, with the younger Kim growing up in European boarding schools, he flew somewhat frequently, as did his siblings. This made him more confident in taking it for transportation, and doing so since taking over.
Deciding to rely on the older, slower, and much more risky train, it would seem that Kim likely has brought Putin ample “presents” to keep him and his Russian military well-armed and supplied as they continue their offensive against Ukraine. Bullets, rockets, drones, chemical weapons, grenades, or people to fight for the Russians could all be on these trains. Given the lack of other resources at Kim’s disposal, it would be good to welcome Putin with a proper sign of business.