SEOUL: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un expressed admiration for Russia's aviation technology undergoing rapid development, outpacing the outside potential threats, during his visit on Friday to a Russian fighter jet factory, KCNA reported on Saturday (Sep 16).
On Friday, Kim inspected the Russian fighter jet factory, which is under Western sanctions, as part of a visit Washington and its allies fear could strengthen Russia's military in Ukraine and bolster Pyongyang's missile programme.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Kim discussed military matters, the war in Ukraine and deepening cooperation when they met on Wednesday.
Kim met test pilots at the fighter jet fuselage assembly shop and got on an Su-57 to hear a detailed explanation of the technical specifications and flight performance of the fifth-generation fighter jet.
He climbed onto an airliner produced by the plant to learn about its performance and watched the test flight of an Su-35 fighter jet.
The North Korean leader's stay is expected to continue on Saturday, possibly with a visit to the eastern city of Vladivostok and a naval base.
The Kremlin said on Friday that Russia and North Korea had not signed any agreements on military matters or on any other areas during Kim's visit to Russia this week.
South Korea and the United States said on Friday that military cooperation between North Korea and Russia was a violation of UN sanctions against Pyongyang, and that the allies would ensure there is a price to pay.
Russia has gone out of its way to publicise the visit and to drop repeated hints about the prospect of military cooperation with North Korea, which was formed in 1948 with the backing of the then-Soviet Union.
For Putin, who says Russia is locked in an existential battle with the West over Ukraine, courting Kim allows him to needle Washington and its Asian allies while potentially securing a deep supply of artillery for the Ukraine war.
Washington has accused North Korea of providing arms to Russia, which has the world's biggest store of nuclear warheads, but it is unclear whether any deliveries have been made.
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 missiles and other technology.
Russian diplomats said Washington had no right to lecture Moscow after the United States had bolstered its allies across the world, including with a visit of a US nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarine to South Korea in July.
The US State Department said on Wednesday the Biden administration would not hesitate to impose additional sanctions on Russia and North Korea if they conclude new arms deals.
The Kremlin says it abides by UN sanctions but that it has a right to develop neighbourly relations, including on sensitive topics.
Kim arrived in Russia on his special train on Tuesday, held a summit with Putin on Wednesday in Vostochny and appeared to have spent most of Thursday travelling before appearing in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, 6,000km east of Moscow, on Friday.
His Maybach limousine was filmed being driven onto his train on Friday in Komsomolsk-on-Amur with the help of a special platform.