Putin, Kim discuss sending North Korean into space
Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un discussed the possibility of sending a North Korean into space, Russian news agencies quoted Putin’s spokesman as saying.
President Putin and the North Korean leader held talks on Wednesday at a spaceport in Russia’s far east.
“We talked about the fact that if the North Korean side wishes, a North Korean cosmonaut can be trained and sent into space,” the TASS and RIA Novosti news agencies quoted Dmitry Peskov as saying.
If that were to happen, the cosmonaut would be the first North Korean ever to go into space.
Kim is visiting Russia as Putin seeks to bolster alliances with other leaders ostracised by Western countries.
The two leaders met at the Vostochny Cosmodrome, with footage released by the Kremlin showing the pair shaking hands enthusiastically as Kim arrived.
They then toured assembly and launch facilities for the Angara and Soyuz-2 space rocket launchers before sitting down for talks.
Kim “shows great interest in rocket technology, and they are trying to develop (their presence in) space”, Putin said.
The meeting at the cosmodrome was symbolic, especially as Pyongyang recently failed twice in its bid to put a military spy satellite into orbit.
In April 2008, Yi So-Yeon became the first Korean sent into space. The South Korean flew on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft to conduct a mission on the International Space Station.
At the time, Yi said she hoped her journey would inspire South Korea to greater space endeavours and even help bring reconciliation on the divided peninsula.
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