situation report

Apr 18, 2019 | 14:09 GMT

2 mins read

North Korea: Kim to Meet Putin, Supervises Weapons Test

What Happened: The Kremlin confirmed April 18 that Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will hold a summit in Russia before the end of April, Yonhap reported.

Separately, North Korea has requested the United States replace Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in nuclear talks with a different negotiator.

And also separately, Kim has attended the testing of an unspecified "new-type tactical guided weapon," although the U.S. Northern Command and the U.S. Strategic Command said they did not detect a missile launch.

Why It Matters: A high-profile meeting with Putin will allow North Korea to emphasize its support on the global stage despite continued U.S. pressure.

It remains unclear whether Pyongyang's push to sideline Pompeo reflects broader regime policy, although it would be consistent with North Korea's emphasis on the personal relationship between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump.

The country's tactical weapons test likely serves as an internal signal to its military and other political elements that Pyongyang remains committed to its defense and strength amid a suspension of nuclear and long-range missile tests.

Background: The North Korean government made a strategic announcement last week to maintain U.S. outreach and shore up its domestic economy. Kim supervised a similar unspecified tactical weapons test in November 2018.

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