A Russia-Kim Jong Un alliance: How concerning is it?

A Russia-Kim Jong Un alliance: How concerning is it?

The US and its allies are worried about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s rumored plans to visit Russia this month.

The likelihood of North Korea supplying Moscow with weaponry to back its conflict in Ukraine will be a topic of discussion between him and President Vladimir Putin, according to US sources.

An arms sale between North Korea and Russia appears to be quite logical from a transactional standpoint.

For the conflict in Ukraine, Moscow needs weapons, particularly ammunition and artillery rounds, and Pyongyang has plenty of both.

Alternatively, sanction-starved Money and food are in dire need in North Korea. The nation has experienced a greater degree of isolation than ever before as a result of more than three years of border closures, not to mention the failure of negotiations with the United States in 2019.

However, it creates the possibility for Pyongyang and Moscow to start collaborating more closely underneath the surface. The US has been expressing concern about a potential arms agreement between the two nations for some time, but a meeting between Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin at the leader-level takes this to a new level.

While preventing North Korean weapons from reaching the front lines in Ukraine appears to be the US’s main goal, at least in the short term, there is anxiety in Seoul about what North Korea would receive in exchange for selling its weapons to Russia.

Russia is in a dire state, which will allow Mr. Kim to demand a high price.

He could also ask Russia for more military aid. The US, South Korea, and Japan, which Kim Jong Un so despises, have discussed holding combined naval drills with Russia, China, and North Korea, according to South Korea’s intelligence service, which was briefed yesterday. Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s defense minister.

In the future, Mr. Kim might even be able to call in Russian weapons.

However, Mr. Kim’s desire for Mr. Putin to give him access to cutting-edge weaponry or expertise in order to improve his nuclear weapons program is by far the most concerning. He is still having trouble mastering important strategic weaponry, especially a spy satellite and a submarine with nuclear missiles.

Officials in Seoul, however, think that collaboration on this scale is improbable since it would end up being strategically risky for Russia.

Yang Uk, a research associate at the Asian Institute for Policy Studies, pointed out that Russia might still support North Korea’s nuclear development even if it doesn’t sell it weapons in exchange. “If Russia makes payments in oil and food, it can help North Korea’s economy, which in turn could help North Korea’s military. They now have a second source of income that they previously lacked.

Military strategist and weapons system expert Mr. Yang continued, “For 15 years, we’ve put up a network of sanctions on North Korea to prevent it from producing and exporting WMD. Now, Russia, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, has the power to bring down the entire system.

As sanctions have been tightened, North Korea has depended more and more on China to ignore individuals who violate them and to give it food aid. North Korea has been allowed to develop its nuclear arsenal without facing major repercussions for the past year because Beijing has declined to sanction North Korea for its weapons tests at the UN Security Council.

It is advantageous for Beijing to maintain Pyongyang’s stability since North Korea offers a helpful buffer zone between itself and the US soldiers stationed in South Korea.

However, Pyongyang has never felt comfortable relying solely on China. Russia is looking for allies, which gives Mr. Kim the chance to expand his network of supporters.

The North Korean leader might believe he can get even more concessions from Moscow than he can from Beijing given how desperate Russia is. In contrast to Chinese President Xi Jinping, Mr. Putin may agree to remain silent in the event of a nuclear test by North Korea.

According to Dr. Bernard Loo of the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, during the Cold War, North Korea played the Russians and the Chinese off of one another in a manner much to how kids play their parents against one another.

However, it is still uncertain whether the conference will proceed.

Mr. Kim rarely or lightly departs from North Korea. He worries excessively about his safety and considers travel to be dangerous. He traveled aboard an armored train for his most recent international journeys, which included meetings with Vladimir Putin in Vladivostok in April 2019 and Donald Trump in Hanoi in February 2019. It took two exhausting days to go from China to Hanoi.

The level of secrecy the two leaders intended for their meeting is unknown, but it’s likely that the US is hoping that by making it known, it may frighten Mr. Kim and scuttle both the meeting and the potential arms transaction.

However, according to Dr. Loo, Mr. Kim would not have much leeway given the rumors of three-way military drills: “Given the reports about three-way military drills, it would be difficult to cancel these kinds of events without everyone ending up looking foolish.”

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, the US has tried to thwart negotiations by releasing intelligence as part of its plan. To yet, North Korea and Russia have refuted all claims that they are interested in arming trade. Both parties are unlikely to want this transaction to be made public.

Ukraine conflict: Kim Jong Un will meet with Putin to discuss arms sales.

According to a US official who spoke to the BBC’s US partner CBS, Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea, intends to visit Russia this month to meet with President Vladimir Putin.

The idea of North Korea supplying Moscow with weaponry to bolster its conflict in Ukraine will be a topic of discussion between the two leaders, the official added.

It is unclear where the talks would take place.

The reports, which were also covered by other US media, were met with “nothing to say” by the Kremlin spokesman. North Korea did not immediately respond with a statement.

The New York Times was informed by sources that Mr. Kim will probably take an armored train.

The White House announced it had fresh intelligence indicating the two nations’ arms negotiations were “actively advancing” before the potential summit.

Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s defense minister, allegedly attempted to “persuade Pyongyang to sell artillery ammunition” to Russia during a recent visit to North Korea, according to National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby.

The Hwasong intercontinental ballistic missile, thought to be the nation’s first ICBM to utilise solid propellants, was among the weapons on exhibit at the gathering. Since the Covid epidemic, Mr. Kim had never welcomed visitors from outside the nation.

Since then, Mr. Kim and Mr. Putin have written to one other “promising to increase their bilateral co-operation,” Mr. Kirby said.

He stated, using the acronym for the North, “We urge the DPRK to end its arms negotiations with Russia and adhere to the public commitments that Pyongyang has made to not provide or sell arms to Russia.”

He threatened that if North Korea did give Russia weapons, the US would respond with measures such as sanctions.

The two leaders’ most recent encounter took place at Vladivostok, in the extreme east of Russia, when Mr. Kim came by rail. Officials gave him a traditional gift of bread and salt as a welcome. Additionally, this was likely Mr. Kim’s final trip.

Both Washington and Seoul are worried about what North Korea would receive in exchange for an arms agreement, which could lead to more military cooperation between the two nations in Asia.

As reported by South Korea’s intelligence agency on Monday, Mr. Shoigu had offered that North Korea, China, and Russia conduct combined naval exercises like to those conducted by the US, South Korea, and Japan.

Another worry is that Russia might one day give North Korea weapons when Pyongyang most needs them.

Even more concerning, Kim Jong Un might ask Vladimir Putin for access to cutting-edge weaponry or knowledge to further his nuclear weapons program.

A deal, though, can turn out to be more commercial than strategic. Right now, Russia needs weapons, and North Korea, which is starving due to sanctions, needs cash and food.

According to the New York Times, Mr. Kim and Mr. Putin may meet in the Russian port city of Vladivostok on the country’s east coast.

According to Edward Wong, the newspaper’s diplomatic correspondent, a team of North Korean officials visited Vladivostok and Moscow late last month.

They “included security officers who deal with the protocol surrounding the travel of the leadership, so that was a strong sign for officials looking at this”, Mr. Wong added.

Both Pyongyang and Moscow have consistently refuted claims that Russia is receiving armaments from the North for use in its conflict in Ukraine.

According to John Everard, who held the position of UK ambassador to North Korea from 2006 to 2008, Mr. Kim is “completely paranoid about his personal security” and that the publicity around the potential visit is a “strong reason why the visit is now unlikely to take place.”

Additionally, he noted, “they’re in very poor condition” even if North Korea possesses stockpiles of the weapons Moscow needs.

2019’s Vladivostok summit was followed by Mr. Putin’s statement that Mr. Kim would need “security guarantees” to give up his nuclear program.

Just a few months prior, Mr. Kim and then-US President Donald Trump met in Vietnam but failed to advance the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

Kim Jong Un displays missiles to Russia’s defense minister Shoigu in North Korea.(27 july)

On Wednesday, Kim Jong Un displayed North Korea’s most recent weapons to Sergei Shoigu, the defense minister of Russia.

The delegation from Russia led by Mr. Shoigu as well as representatives from China were invited by Pyongyang.

They will take part in Pyongyang’s festivities of the 70th anniversary of the armistice that ended the Korean War, which are customarily marked with massive military parades.

The Hwasong intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) was among the weaponry on exhibit.

It is thought to be the nation’s first ICBM to use solid propellants, which makes it launch more quickly than ones that use liquid fuel, and was successfully tested in April.

Two new drone designs were also displayed, one of which was similar to the US Air Force’s main offensive strike drone, according to NK News, a specialized website devoted to North Korea.

Mr. Shoigu’s visit occurs in the midst of allegations that Pyongyang is giving Russia weapons to use in its conflict in Ukraine, a claim that is refuted by both Pyongyang and Moscow.

According to the KCNA news agency of North Korea, Mr. Kim and Mr. Shoigu spoke about “matters of mutual concern” in the areas of national defense and the global security landscape.

On Thursday, there will likely be a sizable military parade to mark the conclusion of the delegates’ trip to celebrate North Korea’s Victory Day, as the 1953 end of hostilities is known there. Since there was no peace treaty in place when the war ended, the Korean peninsula is officially still at war.

China and Russia have been North Korea’s allies for a very long time. Since the Covid epidemic, Mr. Kim has not previously welcomed visitors from outside the country before their arrival.

Pyongyang last invited representatives of foreign governments to attend a military display in February 2018.

According to KCNA, Mr. Shoigu sent Mr. Kim an autographed letter from Russian President Vladimir Putin after their “friendly talk” and afterwards described North Korea’s military as “the most powerful” in the entire world.

Additionally, a private letter from Mr. Xi was given to Mr. Kim by the visiting Chinese group, which was headed by Politburo member Li Hongzhong.

The Korean people “will never forget the fact that the brave soldiers of the Chinese People’s Volunteers shed blood to bring about the war victory,” Mr. Kim allegedly told Mr. Li.

Beijing had dispatched troops to support North Korea in its conflict with South Korea in the autumn of 1950. North Korea was aided in the conflict by the Soviet Union at the time.

Due to their shared disdain of the US after the fall of the USSR in 1991, Russia has continued to be a natural ally of North Korea.

According to some commentators, the presence of Chinese and Russian envoys at this year’s Victory Day parade suggests that Covid restrictions may be loosened.

This comes weeks after official media broadcast pictures of North Koreans wandering around without masks.

Early in 2020, the reclusive nation cut all links with other nations, including its principal allies in trade and politics, China and Russia.

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