Analysis: Why Russia and North Korea want closer ties

A senior commentator for NHK and an expert on Russian politics explains what's behind the summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and what to expect next.

Ross Mihara (NHK NEWSLINE caster):
The summit may have been between the two leaders, but many others were watching, too. What message did Putin try to convey to the world?

Amma Hideo:
He wants to give the impression that the two countries are strengthening their relations, including in the field of military technology.

Putin invited Kim to join him in his personal car and talked of the two countries' friendship since the Korean War. He quoted the proverb: "old friends are better than new friends."

This follows several other high-profile meetings this year, including summit talks with African nations in July. And Putin is expected to visit China next month. He wants to show that Russia is deepening ties with others. That includes increasing cooperation with North Korea and China, which are at odds with Europe, the United States and Japan.

The West and other nations have further and further isolated Russia due to the invasion of Ukraine. Putin is using North Korea to portray a different image.

Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted a summit meeting with his African counterparts in St. Petersburg in July.

There's speculation that the North could provide weapons to Russia. How valuable would they be?

It's doubtful the weapons would be a game changer.

North Korea is not known for having an advanced arsenal. But it does use weapons that originated from the Soviet Union era — the same kind Russia uses.

And with Russia reportedly suffering from a shortage of them, that supply could help.

The deal would complicate Russia's diplomatic problems. Receiving weapons from North Korea violates UN Security Council resolutions.

And Russia, a permanent member of the council, is not supposed to openly proceed with it.

Do you think the relationship between Russia and North Korea will deepen?

It's too early to tell. If it does, I think it will happen at a slow pace. But it's important to watch what happens, without overestimating or underestimating it.