Kim and Putin plan to meet in Russia
Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, plans to travel to Russia this month to meet with its president Vladimir Putin, to discuss military cooperation, including the possibility of giving Russia more weapons for its war in Ukraine , according to the US and allies. officials.
Putin wants Kim to send Russia artillery shells and antitank missiles, and Kim wants Russia to provide North Korea with advanced technology for satellites and nuclear-powered submarines, the officials said. Kim is also seeking food aid for his impoverished country.
The White House warned last week that Putin and Kim had exchanged letters discussing a possible arms deal. But the new information about a planned meeting between them goes beyond the previous warning. Intelligence related to the plans has not been disclosed by the US, and officials briefed on the plans have not been authorized to discuss them and have declined to provide details on how the spy agencies collected the information.
Agenda: Putin and Kim will attend the Eastern Economic Forum, which is scheduled to run from September 10 to 13 in Vladivostok, according to officials. Kim also plans to visit Pier 33, where naval ships from Russia’s Pacific fleet dock, they said.
Kim’s journey: The trip was a rare foray for Kim from his country. He will travel from Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, possibly by armored train, to Vladivostok, on Russia’s east coast, officials said. It is possible that Kim went to Moscow, although that is not certain.
Context: The US first warned about cooperation between North Korea and Russia a year ago and later said that North Korea sent ammunition to Russia through the Middle East and North Africa. But US officials say the disclosures have deterred North Korea and that few if any North Korean weapons have reached the front lines in Ukraine.
Other news from the war in Ukraine:
Putin returned his opposition yesterday to the internationally backed Black Sea grain deal after bilateral talks with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who brokered the deal.
Russia fired swarms of drones at Ukrainian grain facilities and ports yesterday morning, the second large-scale drone attack in the past 48 hours in the southern Odesa region.
The sacking of Ukraine’s defense minister and the arrest of Ihor Kolomoisky, one of the country’s richest men, are signs of the authorities’ efforts to root out corruption — a tough challenge and a rare piece of criticism of the leadership of President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Xi looks set to skip the G20, over a snub in India
China indicated yesterday that its supreme leader, Xi Jinping, would skip the Group of 20 summit meeting in New Delhi this weekend, facing India, the event’s host nation, and raising questions about Xi’s profile as a global statesman.
At a news briefing, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry said China would send the premier, Li Qiang, to the event, but declined to explain why. The move is an unusual one: Xi has never missed a G20 summit, which brings together 19 countries and the European Union, since coming to power in 2012.
Context: The announcement comes amid growing tensions between China and some G20 members — particularly the US over Beijing’s support for Russia, and India over increasingly aggressive territorial claims.
Pope Francis in China: After a four-day trip to Mongolia, Pope Francis called relations with Beijing “very respectful.” However, few clergymen or Catholics from China came to see him during his visit, apparently fearing reprisals.
China’s biggest homebuilder is going crazy
Over the past three years, as dozens of major property developers in China have defaulted after years of excessive borrowing, Country Garden has been an outlier. But last month the real estate giant missed two interest payments – signaling it too is at risk of financial collapse, with $187 billion in debt.
Country Garden should now have $22.5 million this week, the end of the grace period for outstanding payments. The company is trying to raise money and keep creditors, selling stakes in assets and issuing shares at a discount.
Context: The fall of Country Garden has been dramatic. The company’s unlikely rise from a regional homebuilder tracks China’s own meteoric rise. The developer’s collapse reflects the speed and severity of the country’s real estate meltdown, which threatens to derail the broader economy.
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Pro-military music in Niger
Since a group of generals overthrew the elected president in July, Niger has witnessed a resurgence of music videos praising the military, remixed for the TikTok era.
In a video, a popular trio of female artists in fatigues praise soldiers who they say are as fast as antelopes. In another, pickup trucks run through the desert to intercept suspected criminals.
Artists and entertainment executives say such music and videos make sense in a country with a long history of griot culture, where historians and oral history keepers have praised authority figures. The outpouring sheds light on why many in Niger partially welcome the end of democratic rule that they attribute to endemic corruption, economic hardship and limited freedom of expression.