Kim Jong Un:The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan is in Pusan amid concerns that North Korea is seeking advanced weapons technology from Russia in exchange for support in the war in Ukraine. A US nuclear-armed aircraft carrier arrived in South Korea on Thursday in a show of force for North Korea, whose leader reiterated his efforts to strengthen ties with Russia.
South Korea’s Defense Ministry said the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and its battle group arrived at the port of Busan in southeastern South Korea after taking part in trilateral naval exercises between South Korea, the United States and Japan earlier this week. The aircraft carrier will remain in Busan until next Monday under a bilateral agreement to enhance “regular visibility” of US strategic assets on the Korean Peninsula in response to progress in North Korea’s nuclear program, according to an earlier Defense Ministry statement.
This is the first arrival in South Korea in six months since the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier docked in Pusan in late March, the statement said. The USS Ronald Reagan’s arrival is expected to anger North Korea, which sees such a strong deployment of US military assets as a major security threat. In October 2022, when the USS Ronald Reagan conducted joint military exercises with the South Korean military, North Korea said the deployment of the aircraft carrier had a “significant negative impact” on regional security and conducted ballistic missile tests. The latest departure of the US aircraft carrier comes amid growing concerns that North Korea is seeking advanced weapons technology from Russia in exchange for supplies of ammunition to replenish Russia’s conventional arms stockpile depleted in its long war with Ukraine. Concerns heightened after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visited the Russian Far East last month to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and inspect key weapons factories. On Thursday, Kim Jong Un and Putin exchanged messages commemorating the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
In his congratulations to Putin, Kim Jong-un said he was “very satisfied” with the “sincere and comprehensive exchange of views” with Putin during his trip to Russia and was confident that relations between the two countries would reach a new level. Kim also hoped that the Russian people would be able to defeat “imperialism’s continuous hegemonic policies and efforts to isolate and suffocate Russia,” according to the official KCNA news agency.
KCNA said Putin told Kim Jong Un in the conversation that he was satisfied with the continued positive development of bilateral relations in all aspects.