Putin, Kim hold talks in Pyongyang

The summit between Russia and North Korea is now officially underway. Images from Pyongyang show crowds welcoming Russian President Vladimir Putin for his first visit in 24 years.

A welcoming ceremony took place in Pyongyang on Wednesday. North Korea's state-run news agency called the meeting an important step for both nations. Experts believe Pyongyang sees the visit as an opportunity to strengthen ties.

Notably, a large portrait of Putin was displayed alongside that of leader Kim Jong Un. The two are expected to sign a strategic partnership treaty touching on security and economic issues.
Russian state media says Putin opened the talks by thanking Kim. He said they appreciate Pyongyang's consistent and unchanging support when it comes to the war in Ukraine.

Putin also reportedly said Russia is fighting decades of imperialist policies from the US and its allies.

Those 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."

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" -- an assertion Beijing is reportedly not happy about.