WASHINGTON/MOSCOW — Arms negotiations between Russia and North Korea are progressing actively, a US official said on Tuesday, warning leader Kim Jong Un that his country would pay a price to supply Russia with weapons for use in Ukraine. .
Supplying weapons to Russia “is not going to make North Korea look good and it will pay the price in the international community,” US national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters at the White House.
The Kremlin said on Tuesday it had “nothing to say” about statements by U.S. officials that Kim planned to visit Russia this month to meet with President Vladimir Putin and discuss supplying arms to Russia. Moscow.
Kim expects discussions about weapons to continue, Sullivan said, including at the leadership level and “perhaps even in person.”
“We have continued to squeeze Russia’s defense industrial base,” Sullivan said, and Moscow is now “looking to every possible source” for goods like munitions.
“We will continue to call on North Korea to honor its public commitments not to supply Russia with weapons that would end up killing Ukrainians,” Sullivan said.
On Monday, US National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said Kim and Putin may be planning to meet, and The New York Times quoted unnamed US and allies officials as saying Kim was planning to travel to Russia next week to meet Putin.
When asked if he could confirm the talks, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov replied: “No, I can’t. There is nothing to say.
As Russia’s isolation over its war in Ukraine grows, its value in North Korea increases, political analysts say. Relations between North Korea and Russia have not always been as warm as they were during the heyday of the Soviet Union, but the country is now reaping clear benefits from Moscow’s need for friends.
Moscow-Pyongyang Defense Cooperation
In November, a North Korean Defense Ministry official said Pyongyang had “never had an ‘arms trade’ with Russia” and had “no plans to do so in the future”.
Moscow and Pyongyang have promised to strengthen their defense cooperation.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who visited Pyongyang in July to watch demonstrations of weapons including ballistic missiles banned by North Korea, said on Monday the two countries were discussing the possibility of joint military exercises.
“Just as you can recognize a person by their friends, you can recognize a country by their relationships,” said Keir Giles, senior researcher in Chatham House’s Russia and Eurasia Program. “In the case of Russia, that society is now largely made up of rogue states. »
The trip would be Kim’s first overseas visit in more than four years and the first since the coronavirus pandemic.
Although he has taken more trips abroad than his father as a leader, Kim’s travels are often shrouded in secrecy and tight security. Unlike his father, who is said to be opposed to the idea of flying, Kim has flown his personal Russian-made plane for some of his trips, but US officials have told the New York Times he may take a train armored vehicle to cross the land border with which North Korea shares Russia.
Kim is likely to want to emphasize support from Russia and may seek deals on selling arms, aid and sending manpower to Russia, said Andrei Lankov, an expert at the North Korea at Kookmin University in Seoul.
The United States in August imposed sanctions on three entities accused of being linked to arms deals between North Korea and Russia.
North Korea has carried out six nuclear tests since 2006 and recently tested various missiles.
Russia has joined China in opposing new sanctions on North Korea, blocking a US-led initiative and publicly dividing the UN Security Council for the first time since he started punishing Pyongyang in 2006.
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