Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shaking hands during their meeting at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Amur region on Sept. 13, 2023.
Vladimir Smirnov | Afp | Getty Images
There’s nothing like a high-stakes, globally-watched meeting of geopolitical heavyweights to whet the appetite, especially in the case of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s face-to-face talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Following their two-hour talks on Wednesday at a space rocket launch center in Russia’s far east, the leaders are dining together, with a smorgasbord of local delicacies reportedly on the menu.
Putin and Kim are being offered a menu that begins with a salad of duck, fig and nectarine followed by Russian “pelmeni” dumplings made with Kamchatka crab — and then a White Amur fish soup and
a sorbet from sea buckthorn, according to a Kremlin reporter cited by Reuters.
The main course offers the leaders a choice of sturgeon with mushrooms and potatoes or an entrecote of marbled beef with grilled vegetables. For dessert, red bilberries from the taiga (Russia’s vast forested Siberia region) with pine nuts and condensed milk is on the menu.
White and red wines from the Divnomorskoe Manor from southern Russia will also be offered.
Before proposing a toast to Putin’s health ahead of the meal, Kim reportedly said that he was confident Russia would win in what Moscow calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine.
“I am deeply convinced that the heroic Russian army and people will brilliantly inherit the tradition of victory, confidently demonstrate invaluable dignity and honour on the fronts of the special military operation,” Kim said via a translator before raising a glass of wine, Reuters reported.
“The Russian army and people will certainly win a great victory in the sacred struggle for the punishment of a great evil that claims hegemony and feeds an expansionist illusion,” Kim added.
In this pool photo distributed by Sputnik agency, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (centre L) and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un (centre R) visit the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Amur region on September 13, 2023.
Mikhail Metzel | Afp | Getty Images
Kim and Putin met at the Vostochny space rocket launch site earlier Wednesday, inspecting the facility before their respective delegations held talks on expanding bilateral cooperation between the two countries, before Putin and Kim held private, one-to-one talks.
Russian media showed the leaders greeting each other outside the spaceport around 1,000 miles from Vladivostok, where Kim initially arrived on Tuesday. The Kremlin also released a video showing the leaders touring the cosmodrome ahead of the talks.
Having spoken for over two hours, the talks ended with the Kremlin saying there would be no signed declaration following the meeting.
Little is currently known about the content of the discussions, least of all those conducted one-to-one. Western officials have expressed their concern that Kim and Putin’s discussions would center on arms and what weapons Russia could obtain from North Korea that it could then use in its was against Ukraine.
In return, officials and experts believed, Moscow would offer heavily-sanctioned Pyongyang much needed food and financial assistance, as well as possible military technology.
Asked about the West’s allegations on Wednesday, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov told Russian state media reporter Pavel Zarubin that “North Korea is our close neighbor. And despite any ‘comments’ or ‘shouts’ from the outside, we will build relations with our neighbors in a way that is beneficial to us and beneficial to our neighbors,” he said.
“In any case, the full scope of relations implies dialogue and interaction in sensitive areas, such as military cooperation, exchange of opinions on the most pressing issues in the area of security, this will be done as well,” he added.
Peskov said “the rest of the questions are concerning our two countries, two sovereign countries and should not be a point of concern for the third states. Our cooperation is being conducted for the sake of the prosperity of our two countries and not against anyone else.”