Kim and Vlad Seal Deals While Comparing Their Rocket Collections


There’s a real good reason why Kim Jong Un hopped aboard his heavily armored choo-choo train and chugged over to Russia for a visit with Vlad Putin at Moscow’s nifty new spaceport. They’re trying to send a message to the west about “the growing importance of their relationship.

Kim checks out Vlad’s rocket base

Vladimir Putin was thrilled to take time away from his war against Ukraine to show Kim Jong Un around Russia’s Vostochny Cosmodrome. That helps Vlad brag about his shiny new “key space launch facility.” Experts who follow these things point out that “it means that irrespective of anybody’s political will,” the Russkies “can launch any spacecraft to any space orbits independently.

Meanwhile, North Korea’s leader took the opportunity to boast about the flawless way his cruise missiles recently simulated a nuclear “EMP” attack, with everything except the nukes.

Both of them have been uncharacteristically friendly with China lately and it seems that Xi Jinping might be using Joe Biden’s impeachment chaos as an excuse to go ahead and “re-unify” Taiwan with the mainland, whether Taiwan is ready for that or not. Kim couldn’t wait to hop on board his “specially equipped train.

As Washington Post observes, “the meeting, between two men who stand increasingly isolated by the West, signifies the growing importance of their relationship.” Vlad needs more munitions to use against Ukraine while North Korea needs food for their masses.

Weapons deals are expected to dominate Putin’s agenda as he seeks to replenish Russia’s fast-diminishing ammunition stockpiles. There also are signs that the meeting could discuss space technology, a priority for Kim.” Rocket man wants more than corn and wheat from the deal.

They chose the Vostochny Cosmodrome as the site of their meeting on purpose. “This is now Russia’s key space launch facility,” space security expert Mark Hilborne explains. “It is relatively new and is entirely sovereign.” Before it was built, they had to rely on “the Baikonur Cosmodrome, leased from Kazakhstan, as its primary launch site.

Any spacecraft to any orbit

According to Russian lawmaker Irina Yarovaya back in 2016, “it means that irrespective of anybody’s political will, we can launch any spacecraft to any space orbits independently. The Vostochny spaceport is a 21st-century space launch facility and a new philosophy of modern Russia.

Using it as a backdrop for his meeting with Kim “provides Putin with a powerful symbol of Russia’s ambitions for space exploration, an area long associated with projecting state power, and — in the case of the Vostochny Cosmodrome — of Russia’s ability to go it alone.

Another reason Vlad wants images of his meeting with Kim in Russian media is to show “support for the space port — which has at times been controversial domestically. The site has been plagued by allegations of corruption during its much-delayed construction and has been associated with multiple launch failures.

In a recent race for the lunar south pole, “the uncrewed Luna-25 spacecraft took off from the Vostochny Cosmodrome for the moon, where it was intended to make a historic landing on the icy south pole. Several days later, Russia’s space agency announced that the craft had crashed into the moon’s surface.” India’s lander got some great shots of the crater it left behind as it successfully landed nearby.

North Korean state media is circulating photos of “Kim being accompanied on the train trip by Pak Thae Song, the chairman of North Korea’s national space science and technology committee.” He’s been linked “in a report to Pyongyang’s efforts to obtain military spy satellites.” There are probably a few examples laying around at the Cosmodrome for Pak to take a look at.

Hopefully, he’ll also get a chance to have a chat with the design engineers. Kim is frustrated he hasn’t been able to get one of those to fly yet. “Last month, North Korea said it would persevere in its efforts to send a ‘space launch vehicle‘ — Pyongyang’s preferred moniker — into orbit after two failed attempts.

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