Amidst the escalating discord between North Korea and the US, alongside its regional allies, the threat of potential conflict looms large. The North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, is preparing to engage in high-level dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin to further arms discussions.
The current situation has been exacerbated by ongoing military exercises undertaken by both sides to maintain a fragile balance of power.
Adrienne Watson, a spokesperson for the National Security Council (NSC), has raised alarms in the media circuit, warning that the arms deliberations between Russia and North Korea are gaining momentum at a concerning pace. Watson revealed that Kim Jong Un intends to continue these conversations, potentially culminating in a significant diplomatic event hosted in Russia.
Previously, the White House had shed light on Russia’s undercover initiatives, involving discreet dialogues with North Korea concerning potential acquisition of munitions and other resources to bolster Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine.
Details on North Korea’s Engagement
John Kirby, another NSC spokesperson, highlighted that North Korea had supplied infantry rockets and missiles to Russia in the previous year. These supplies were reportedly destined for the Wagner military group, which operates under private control in Russia. Despite official denials from North Korea, the evidence suggests otherwise.
On Monday, Watson reiterated the plea from the United States, urging North Korea to terminate its arms discussions with Russia, urging adherence to the commitments made publicly by Pyongyang to refrain from selling or supplying arms to Russia. She highlighted that the current pace of negotiations between Russia and North Korea is a worrying development.
Further details emerged that Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu had previously visited North Korea to procure additional arms to fuel the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. During this meeting, Shoigu emphasized the significant partnership between Russia and North Korea, marked by a shared border and a history of collaboration.
The Historical Context
The meeting marked a historical milestone as Sergei Shoigu became the first high-ranking defence official to visit North Korea since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. During this meeting, a reception and luncheon hosted by Kim Jong Un fostered solidarity between Russia and North Korea, with discussions revolving around strategic security and future defense collaboration, as reported by the KCNA.
In an ensuing meeting, Minister Shoigu conveyed a heartfelt message from Russian President Vladimir Putin, expressing gratitude for North Korea’s support during the military operations in Ukraine. In light of these developments, it is anticipated, as per reports from The New York Times, that Kim, who is known for his limited international travels, is likely to visit Vladivostok—a city situated close to North Korea on Russia’s Pacific coast—for a pivotal meeting with Putin sometime this month. This upcoming diplomatic engagement is closely watched by international stakeholders, who are keenly monitoring the developments in this complex geopolitical scenario.