Three key moments as North Korea rolls out the red carpet for Vladimir Putin in treaty-signing

ITV News' Debi Edwards breaks down the new pact between Russia and North Korea.


There were flags, red roses and even a politeness contest, before a signing that will raise major international concerns over a future arms arrangement.Russian President Vladimir Putin shook hands on a deal that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un hailed as the "strongest ever treaty" between their respective nations.

The developments came as Putin conducts a two-day state visit to North Korea - his first for 24 years - and follows on from Kim making a similar trip to Russia last September.

Putin has sought to grow his relationship with Kim in the wake of increasing Western sanctions brought about by Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Here, ITV News takes a look at three key moments to emerge from the first day of Putin's overseas trip.

The red carpet arrival

Putin arrived in North Korea's capital, Pyongyang, overnight on Wednesday by plane.

He was greeted by Kim, as he stepped out of his aircraft onto a red carpet lined with roses, with the two leaders briefly caught in the middle of a politeness contest over who first entered an awaiting limousine.

The two leaders were then driven as part of a large motorcade through the streets of Pyongyang, which were brightly illuminated and decorated with large Russian flags and portraits of Putin.

Putin and Kim walk along a red carpet lined with roses at the Pyongyang Sunan International Airport. Credit: AP

The lavish welcoming ceremony

On Wednesday morning, Putin attended a grand welcoming ceremony in Pyongyang's main square, where he and Kim saluted an honour guard and walked across another red carpet.

Thousands of spectators welcomed the Russian president, including children holding balloons and people wearing coordinated t-shirts in the red, white and blue of the Russian and North Korean flags.

Russia's president was then introduced to key members of Kim's leadership, including Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui and the North Korean leader's sister, Kim Yo Jong.

Children were among the thousands of spectators who greeted Putin and Kim in Pyongyang. Credit: AP

The 'strongest every treaty'

Putin and Kim signed what has been described as a "comprehensive strategic partnership", which includes a vow of mutual aid if either country is attacked.

The deal did not make clear what kind of assistance would be provided in such a scenario, but Kim called the deal the "strongest ever treaty" signed between the countries.

He said that the agreement was of a peaceful and defensive nature, adding: "I have no doubt it will become a driving force accelerating the creation of a new multipolar world."

Putin, meanwhile, was quoted by Russian media as saying that Russia would not rule out developing military-technical cooperation with North Korea under the deal.

Both leaders described it as a major upgrade of their relations, covering security, trade, investment, cultural and humanitarian ties.

The Kremlin’s website said they also signed an agreement to build a road bridge on their border.

The announcement comes at a time of mounting international concern over an arms arrangement in which North Korea could supply Russia with badly needed munitions for its war in Ukraine.

Kim said the two countries had a "fiery friendship," and that the deal was their "strongest ever treaty," putting the relationship at the level of an alliance. He vowed full support for Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Putin and Kim shake hands after signing a 'comprehensive strategic partnership'. Credit: AP

(...and the additional deals)

Putin and Kim additionally agreed to grow their international cooperation in a number of other fields.

This included healthcare, medical education, and science, according to Russian state media which cited information shown on the Kremlin's website.

Putin’s foreign affairs adviser Yuri Ushakov told reporters in Pyongyang the leaders exchanged gifts after the talks.

Putin presented Kim with a Russian-made Aurus limousine and other gifts, including a tea set and a naval officer’s dagger.

Ushakov said Kim’s presents to Putin included artwork depicting the Russian leader.


Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...