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World watches with unease as Putin makes rare North Korea Visit: Strategic Partnership and Global Diplomacy Unfold

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Russian President Vladimir Putin’s upcoming diplomatic mission to North Korea, his first in over two decades, comes amid intense global scrutiny and highlights a deepening alliance rooted in mutual antipathy towards Western powers, particularly amid Russia’s ongoing conflict with Ukraine.

Scheduled to commence Tuesday, Putin’s visit is not just a rare international trip since the onset of Russia’s Ukraine invasion but also a pivotal moment for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who has refrained from hosting foreign leaders in Pyongyang since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

The visit aims to solidify a growing partnership driven by shared geopolitical interests rather than opposition to specific countries, according to Putin’s aide Yuri Ushakov. Key agenda items include the signing of a new strategic partnership agreement aimed at enhancing stability in northeast Asia, replacing earlier accords dating back to 1961.

Preparations in Pyongyang for a significant parade, as seen in satellite imagery, underscore the visit’s ceremonial significance. Meanwhile, international reactions vary, with US officials expressing concerns over deepening ties between Moscow and Pyongyang, alleging military aid to Russia and citing worries about sanctions violations.

Putin’s visit follows Kim’s reciprocal trip to Russia last September, which bolstered relations amidst ongoing international sanctions against North Korea’s nuclear activities. It provides Putin with an opportunity to garner support for his Ukraine campaign amid delayed Western military aid.

In a broader diplomatic context, Putin’s engagement with North Korea aligns with efforts to strengthen ties with China and other nations critical of Western dominance, aiming to counterbalance Russia’s isolation post-Ukraine invasion. This diplomatic strategy, characterized by high-profile engagements, reflects Putin’s ongoing efforts to restore Russia’s global stature despite international condemnation.

Such maneuvering underscores a complex geopolitical landscape where alliances and rivalries shift in response to global power dynamics, challenging established norms and alliances in international relations.

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