22nd September 2023 – (Pyongyang) North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has instructed the implementation of undisclosed measures aimed at advancing bilateral ties with Russia, subsequent to his recent visit to the country. During a gathering of the Politburo on Wednesday (Sep 20), Kim emphasised the necessity of elevating cooperation between the two nations to a new level, consolidating the achievements made during his trip to Russia. The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Friday that these efforts would contribute significantly to the prosperity of the people in both countries.
While in Russia’s Far East, Kim engaged in discussions with President Vladimir Putin, as well as visited significant Russian military and technological facilities. Although the leaders expressed their intention to collaborate on defense matters, they refrained from divulging specific details, causing unease among South Korea and its allies, including the United States.
Experts speculate that North Korea and Russia likely broached subjects such as prohibited arms transfers and other forms of cooperation during Kim’s six-day visit last week. It is believed that both nations are earnest about strengthening their ties, particularly while facing separate challenges from Western countries.
In return for advanced weaponry technologies and economic assistance, observers suggest that Kim may provide ammunition to replenish Putin’s depleted armoury for his military endeavours in Ukraine. However, such potential dealings between Russia and North Korea have drawn cautionary warnings from the U.S., South Korea, and their partners. They have made it clear that both countries would face consequences for engaging in any transactions that violate the UN Security Council resolutions prohibiting arms trade with North Korea. It is worth noting that Russia, as a permanent member of the Security Council, had voted in favor of these resolutions.
Addressing the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, South Korean President Yoon Suk-Yeol cautioned against any actions by a permanent Security Council member that would defy international norms, deeming them both dangerous and “paradoxical.” Yoon stressed that South Korea, along with its allies, would not remain passive in the face of a potential weapons deal between Pyongyang and Moscow, which would pose a threat not only to Ukraine but also to South Korea.
Numerous experts believe that North Korea seeks Russian assistance to complete the development of advanced weapon systems, including spy satellites, nuclear-powered submarines, and long-range missiles. Kim aims to modernise his country’s arsenal to gain greater concessions from the United States and South Korea.