Concerns mount as U.S., South Korea, and Japan express alarm over Russia-North Korea military cooperation

Antony Blinken

23rd September 2023 – (Seoul) The United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, along with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts, has voiced “serious concern” regarding discussions of military cooperation between Russia and North Korea, including the possibility of arms trading. The South Korean Foreign Ministry confirmed this development on Saturday, highlighting the need to respond firmly to any actions that threaten regional security and violate United Nations Security Council resolutions.

In a brief meeting held on Friday, Secretary Blinken, South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin, and Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa expressed their shared apprehension about the discussion of military cooperation between Russia and North Korea. The meeting aimed to address the escalating concerns over potential arms trading and its implications for regional stability.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un recently embarked on a week-long visit to Russia, during which he engaged in discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin regarding military cooperation. This development has raised serious concerns among officials from the United States and South Korea, who fear that the summit’s underlying purpose was to enable Russia to acquire ammunition from North Korea to bolster its diminishing stockpiles for the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, speaking on Wednesday, emphasised that if Russia were to assist North Korea in enhancing its weapons programs in exchange for support in the Ukrainian conflict, it would constitute a direct provocation. President Yoon further stated that Seoul and its allies would not remain passive in the face of such a situation, underscoring their commitment to safeguarding regional security.