NewsRussian jet lands in Pyongyang amid growing military ties

Russian jet lands in Pyongyang amid growing military ties

Russian plane Ił-62M, archival photograph
Russian plane Ił-62M, archival photograph
Images source: © Wikimedia Commons
Malwina Witkowska

9 July 2024 10:41

On Tuesday, a Russian military jet made an unannounced flight to North Korea. This is the first occurrence since both countries signed the mutual defence treaty. An expert claims that the overt journey suggests that Moscow no longer sees a need to hide its military ties.

A Russian Air Force passenger plane took off from Moscow around 4:10 AM GMT and landed at Sunan International Airport in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, at 1:12 AM GMT, according to data from flight tracking websites Flightradar24 and FlightAware.

According to the portal nknews.org, unlike many other Russian aircraft that have recently performed secret flights to North Korea, this one maintained a relatively consistent radio signal during the flight to Pyongyang. It only briefly turned off its transponders over Siberia.

Russia does not hide military cooperation

The Russian jet’s journey is the first known military flight since last month when Russian leader Vladimir Putin visited North Korea. At that time, he signed an agreement with Kim Jong Un on a comprehensive strategic partnership.

The treaty formalises bilateral commitments to provide military assistance in the event of an attack on either country.

In an interview with the NK News portal, Ryo Hinata-Yamaguchi, an adjunct professor at the University of Tokyo, assessed that "Russia probably sees no need to hide its military cooperation with North Korea."

Russian military in North Korea

As reported by NK News, over the past year, Russia and North Korea have organized many visits focusing on economic and humanitarian cooperation. According to the Korean Central News Agency, Tuesday’s flight continued Monday’s visit by North Korean military educators to Moscow.

Hinata-Yamaguchi from the University of Tokyo described the military flight as a "significant advance."

Ryo Hinata-Yamaguchi told NK News that it is significant in the sense that it represents another step in deepening Russia-North Korea relations and addressing the matter. He added that the plane could have carried officials, technicians, or smaller equipment.

The expert stated that the North Korean military delegation likely aims to send academic staff, scientists, and engineers to Russia. All of this is to gain specialised knowledge in research and development.

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