Putin, Kim kick off Pyongyang summit

Russian President Vladimir Putin has reportedly begun talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The two leaders are in Pyongyang for a summit on Wednesday.

Images show Kim warmly welcoming Putin to Pyongyang ahead of their scheduled summit. North Korea's state-run news agency called the meeting an important step for both nations. They are expected to sign a strategic partnership treaty touching on security and economic issues. Experts believe Pyongyang sees Putin's visit as a major opportunity to strengthen bilateral ties.

Other countries are keeping a close eye on the event. The US Secretary of State raised concerns over what this partnership could mean for Ukraine.

Antony Blinken said, "We'll continue to do everything we can to cut off the support that countries like Iran and North Korea are providing."

It is believed Russia is procuring munitions, such as missiles and artillery shells, from North Korea. In return, Moscow is allegedly providing Pyongyang with technological support as well as food and energy.

China's foreign ministry spokesperson declined to comment on the visit. But last week, he said Moscow was welcome to cement its traditional friendships.

Diplomatic sources in Beijing say they are being careful. They say Pyongyang is trying to shore up its ties with Moscow without alienating China.

North Korea claims Russia and China are fighting the West in a "new Cold War."