After a trip to Russia that frightened the West, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un received body armor and drones as parting presents.
The send-off concluded a rare, six-day visit during which Kim met with Vladimir Putin of Russia, raising the prospect that North Korea would give Russia weapons to help in its invasion of Ukraine.
Kim, who seldom travels abroad, received a lavish welcome and spent a large portion of the trip touring military installations. North Korea is subject to severe sanctions and is in desperate need of everything, including food, electricity, and military technology.
According to Russian state media TASS, the governor of the Primorye province in far-eastern Russia gave him a bulletproof jacket and some drones before he left.
“This is body armor with protection zones for the chest, shoulders, throat, and groin, and it is much lighter than its known analogs,” the state news agency continued.
A Geranium-25 aircraft-style reconnaissance drone and five kamikaze drones made in the same region also sent to Kim, according to TASS. An extra gift was a suit of special clothes that is invisible to thermal imaging equipment.
In a video released by Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti, Kim was seen boarding his own armored train as Russian officials waved after a departure ceremony that included a red carpet and honor guards.
According to RIA, the train will go over 200 kilometers (124 miles) from Artyom to the border town of Khasan.
An excursion with a military theme
Kim and Putin held a five-hour meeting on Wednesday at the Vostochny Cosmodrom spaceport in Russia’s Far East, during which Putin claimed Kim displayed “great interest” — North Korea has made space technology a top goal.
After their meeting, Kim pledged his support for Putin, saying, “I will always be standing with Russia.” In his words, their conversations were “very substantive.”
The US government’s caution that the two countries’ arms negotiations were “actively advancing” earlier in the month served as the meeting’s backdrop. No agreements have made publicly known.