Putin visits North Korea, vows to beat sanctions | ANG
  • July 16, 2024

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Russian President Vladimir Putin is making a rare foreign trip to North Korea, a visit intended to further cement ties with an old ally that supports Moscow’s war in Ukraine.

North Korean media reported on Monday that Putin would visit North Korea on June 18-19.

Ahead of Putin’s visit, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un praised the expanding ties between Moscow and Pyongyang in a June 12 message congratulating Russia on its National Day, describing the countries’ “unbreakable relationship of comrades-in-arms.”

Kim traveled to Russia’s Far East in September to meet Putin and visit several military sites, sparking Western concerns about an arms alliance between the two. Russian and North Korean officials said that boosting defense ties between the two countries was discussed during the visit but they didn’t disclose any specific steps.

Russia and North Korea are locked in separate confrontations with the United States — Russia over its invasion of Ukraine and North Korea over its advancing nuclear program.

Both North Korea and Russia have denied allegations of arms transfers, which would be a violation of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions.

In March, South Korean Defense Minister Shin Wonsik said North Korea had already shipped about 7,000 containers filled with munitions and other military equipment to Russia. In return, Shin said that North Korea had received more than 9,000 Russian containers likely filled with aid.

Russia is only interested in a cooperation with North Korea while there is ongoing military action in Ukraine, Andrei Lankov, a professor at Kookmin University, said.

“The strategic value of North Korea, in case the phase of active hostilities in Ukraine ends, is most likely not so great.” he added.

“At the stage of the military conflict (in Ukraine) there will be quite active interaction on issues of simple arms trade. The North Koreans will try to get some kind of military-technical assistance and military technology. I think no one will be particularly willing to give them these technologies,” Lankov said.

Putin’s trip to North Korea marks his second visit to the country.

Putin first visited Pyongyang in July 2000, months after his first election when he met with Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il, who ruled the country then.

Moscow has said it “highly appreciates” Pyongyang’s support for Russia’s military action in Ukraine and mentioned its “close and fruitful cooperation” at the United Nations and other international organizations.

Russia, together with China, has repeatedly blocked the U.S. and its partners’ attempts to impose fresh U.N. sanctions on North Korea over its barrage of banned ballistic missile tests.

In March, a Russian veto at the United Nations ended monitoring of U.N. sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear program, prompting Western accusations that Moscow is seeking to avoid scrutiny as it allegedly violates the sanctions to buy weapons from Pyongyang for use in Ukraine.

Earlier this year, Putin sent Kim a high-end Aurus Senat limousine, which he had shown to the North Korean leader when they met for a summit in September. Observers said the shipment violated a U.N. resolution aimed at pressuring the North to give up its nuclear weapons program by banning the supply of luxury items to North Korea

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