Putin and Kim Jong Un Forge Dangerous Alliance Amid Growing Military Ties

North Korea and Russia deepen military ties, posing a global security threat. US urges China and Russia to stop shielding North Korea from sanctions over its weapons programs.

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Dil Bar Irshad
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Putin and Kim Jong Un Forge Dangerous Alliance Amid Growing Military Ties

Putin and Kim Jong Un Forge Dangerous Alliance Amid Growing Military Ties

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin have developed an increasingly close relationship, with Russia providing support for North Korea's ballistic missile development and sending Kim a luxury Russian limousine. In return, North Korea has shipped at least 10,000 containers filled with weapons to Russia, and North Korean missiles have been used in the war in Ukraine. Russia has also protected North Korea at the United Nations, blocking a committee that monitored North Korea's illicit activities.

This growing military collusion between the two pariah states is concerning for China, which has historically rewarded North Korea with aid when displeased with its actions. However, Moscow has now pulled Pyongyang into its orbit, and Putin is expected to visit North Korea soon. The United States and its allies must take concerted action to counter the proliferation of weapons and impose financial costs on both Russia and North Korea, while also increasing the flow of factual information into the two countries to counter disinformation campaigns.

The United States has warned North Korea against supplying weapons to Russia, threatening further sanctions. North Korea is one of the few countries to openly support Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and the two countries have been drawing closer. A summit between Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin is planned, likely to focus on military cooperation and a potential arms deal. The U.S. has accused North Korea of already providing Russia with artillery shells, which both countries have denied.

Kim Jong Un recently concluded a rare six-day visit to Russia, which appeared to solidify the ties between the two countries. The visit focused intensely on military cooperation, including a symbolic exchange of rifles with Putin and an inspection of state-of-the-art Russian weapons. The two sides also discussed increasing supplies of grain, resuming regular air travel, and reviving long-muted infrastructure projects.

Why this matters: The growing partnership between Russia and North Korea poses a significant threat to global security. In the two countries' deepening military and economic ties, they are able to evade international sanctions and continue developing advanced weapons systems. This alliance has the potential to destabilize the region and undermine efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield urged Russia and China to stop shielding North Korea from sanctions and accountability for its weapon programs. She made the remarks during a visit to the Demilitarized Zone in South Korea, where she met with young North Korean defectors and discussed ways to deter North Korea's weapons programs and promote human rights in the country. Thomas-Greenfield said Russia's veto and China's abstention on renewing the U.N. panel of experts that monitors sanctions on North Korea "empowers" the country's efforts to sidestep international sanctions and "shields" it from accountability.

Key Takeaways

  • North Korea and Russia have developed a close military partnership.
  • North Korea has supplied Russia with weapons for the war in Ukraine.
  • Russia has protected North Korea from UN sanctions and accountability.
  • The growing Russia-North Korea alliance poses a threat to global security.
  • The U.S. urges Russia and China to stop shielding North Korea's weapons programs.