An envoy sent by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to Russia last year made an attempt to purchase the advanced fighter jet, Sukhoi Su-35, latest reports say.
South Korean Daily JoongAng Ilbo, which was the first to report the news on Friday, cited a military source as saying that Choe Ryong-hae, who visited Moscow as a North Korean special envoy last year, "asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to provide Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets".
"The North produces many weapons systems domestically, but it appears to have sought Russia's help because building fighter jets requires more complex technologies," the unnamed official was quoted as saying.
"But because of international sanctions imposed on the North, Russia won't likely sell it readily."
The report, which was later picked by Russian news agency TASS, further noted that not much has been revealed on the exact nature of the meeting between Choe and Putin.
The Russian presidential official has said Choe – one of the member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau as well as the secretary of the Central committee of the 'Workers' Party of North Korea – met with the Russian leader on 18 November and handed over an official letter written by Kim.
Kremlin had informed reporters at that time that the meeting was not open for press and there won't be any conference.
The National Interest publication notes that the fighter jet North Korea reportedly sought from Russia is the "most potent" fighter jet currently being operated in the Russian Air Force.
The Sukhoi Su-35, which is otherwise also known as 'Super Flanker' is a heavily upgraded derivative of the Su-27 'Flanker'. They are said to be single-seat, twin-engine "super-manoeuvrable multirole fighters", which was designed by Sukhoi and built by Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Production Association. Due to its features such as its ability to fly high, fast and enormous payload capabilities, the jet is supposed to be a dreaded military weapon to any of Russia's 'enemies'.
These features combined with its advanced suite of avionics makes the Su-35 a jet an advanced flying weapon that can easily defeat most of the US fighter jets, reports said.
This is not the first time North Korea has sought to acquire fighter jets from its ally Russia. In 2011, the current leader's late father, Kim Jong-il, visited the country and reportedly made attempts to buy fighter jets.
He did the same with China in 2010 expressing his desire to purchase fighter jets, although Beijing rejected the request, the South Korean newspaper further noted.