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Kim Jong Un inspects Russian aircraft at Knevichi airfield

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met with Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu at the Knevichi airfield in Vladivostok on Saturday, TASS reported. The North Korean leader is on a visit to Russia at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Kinzhal missile system on a MiG-31I missile carrier was demonstrated to Kim Jong Un at the airfield. Lieutenant General Sergei Kobylash, commander of the long-range aviation of the Russian Air and Space Forces, spoke about the flight and technical capabilities of the hypersonic aircraft missile system. Crew commanders of combat aircraft reported on the capabilities of the Su-34 supersonic fighter-bomber, Su-30SM, Su-35S and Su-25SM3 fighters and attack aircraft, as well as their flight characteristics and weapons capabilities.

The North Korean leader then went on a tour of the engineering centre and production workshops of the Yuri Gagarin Aviation Plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur in Russia’s Far East. TASS reports that the visit to the aircraft plant was organised by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov. The KnAAZ contains production facilities to produce modern military aircraft for the Russian Defence Ministry. During the tour, Kim Jong Un and Denis Manturov inspected the fighter aircraft assembly facility and the final assembly shop for Su-35 aircraft and the fifth-generation Su-57 aircraft complex.

The Russian government said in a statement:

“The Chairman of State Affairs of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Kim Jong Un, was shown the engineering centre and production shops of the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aviation Plant named after Yu A Gagarin (KnAAZ named after Yu A Gagarin), a branch of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), and also the site of the production centre of the parent company of the civilian division of UAC Yakovlev.”

Russian government officials point out that the production of aircraft is organised on a flow principle. As a result, the technological process is carried out as efficiently as possible and assembly time is minimised.

The delegation inspected the production facilities upgraded as a result of the modernisation and technical re-equipment of the enterprise. The Russian government said:

“The guests were shown the areas where work is being carried out within the framework of cooperation on the imposed Superjet 100 (SJ-100) – fuselage compartments and wing assemblies are being manufactured at KnAAZ.”

The leaders of Russia and North Korea visited the production centre of the parent company of the civilian division of UAC Yakovlev. The centre is currently preparing for aerobatic testing of the SJ-100 aircraft with Russian PD-8 engines.

Kim Jong Un praised Russia’s efforts in the fight “against the forces of hegemony.” He praised the Russian leadership for defending its sovereignty and security – a veiled reference to the U.S. and the West – and noted that North Korea expresses “full and unconditional support for everything Russia does in response,” CNN notes.

CNN, citing Russia’s state-run Russia1 news agency, notes that the two leaders are discussing some military cooperation. Vladimir Putin said in an interview with Russia1 television channel:

“Well, there are certain restrictions, and Russia complies with all these restrictions. But there are things that we can of course talk about, discuss, think about. And here too there are prospects.”

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