|A photo released by the official North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, shaking hands with Minister of Defense of Russia Sergei Shoigu during a visit to Vladivostok, Russia, Sept. 16. EPA-Yonhap
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un received five explosive drones, a reconnaissance drone and a bulletproof vest as gifts from a regional governor on his visit to Russia, official TASS news agency said Sunday.
Kim's first official visit abroad since the coronavirus pandemic has fanned Western fears that Moscow and Pyongyang will defy sanctions and strike an arms deal.
On Saturday he met the Russian defence minister in Vladivostok, where he inspected state-of-the-art weapons including a hypersonic missile system.
TASS said the "leader of the DPRK received five kamikaze drones and a 'Geran-25' reconnaissance drone with vertical takeoff," using the official name of North Korea.
TASS said the governor of the Primorye region, which borders China and North Korea, also "offered Kim Jong-un a set of bulletproof protection" and "special clothing not detectable by thermal cameras."
Kim's extended tour of Russia's far eastern region, which began on Tuesday, has focused extensively on military matters, as evidenced by his own officer-dominated entourage, a symbolic exchange of rifles with President Vladimir Putin and a tour of a fighter jet factory in Komsomolsk-on-Amur.
Moscow is believed to be interested in buying North Korean ammunition to continue fighting in Ukraine, while Pyongyang wants Russia's help to develop its internationally condemned missile programme.
The Kremlin has said no agreement has or will be signed.
Kim also met with North Korean students studying in Vladivostok on Sunday.
North Korean news agency KCNA has described the atmosphere during Kim's visit as "fervent and warm" and said a "new era of friendship, solidarity and cooperation" was opening between North Korea and Russia. (AFP)