Kim's Russia Trip Stokes Concerns of Weapons Deals. Image by - CT deaign team.

Kim's Russia Trip Stokes Concerns of Weapons Deals

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's extended trip to Russia has raised concerns that the two isolated countries may be negotiating banned weapons transfer deals.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's extended trip to Russia has raised concerns that the two isolated countries may be negotiating banned weapons transfer deals.

Since arriving in Russia on Tuesday, Kim has met President Vladimir Putin and toured aircraft and technology facilities, signaling deepening Pyongyang-Moscow ties.

Experts speculate Kim may supply ammunition to Russia for its war in Ukraine in exchange for advanced Russian weapons and technology.

In this photo, released via the Telegram channel of Mikhail Degtyarev, the governor of Russia's Far Eastern Khabarovsky Krai region, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is seen inspecting a military jet cockpit during his visit to a Russian aircraft plant that manufactures fighter jets in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, approximately 6,200 kilometers (3,900 miles) east of Moscow, Russia, on Friday, September 15, 2023. Image by - AP Photo

On Friday, Kim visited a factory producing Russia's most sophisticated Su-57 fighter jet and Su-35 aircraft in Komsomolsk-on-Amur.

Kim applauded after viewing a demonstration flight, underscoring potential defense industry cooperation.

Russia's Deputy PM Denis Manturov, who accompanied Kim, noted prospects for aviation and other joint ventures to aid "technological sovereignty."

In this photograph released via the Telegram channel of Mikhail Degtyarev, the governor of Russia's Far Eastern region of Khabarovsky Krai, we see North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the center, inspecting the cockpit of a military jet during his visit to a Russian aircraft plant that specializes in building fighter jets. This facility is located in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, approximately 6,200 kilometers (3,900 miles) to the east of Moscow, Russia. The visit took place on Friday, September 15, 2023. (Photograph courtesy of the Telegram channel of Mikhail Degtyarev, governor of the Russian Far Eastern region of Khabarovsky Krai, via AP)

The summit with Putin on Wednesday occurred at the Vostochny space launch site, hinting at collaboration in rocketry, which Putin confirmed given Kim's interest in space technology.

Kim's 2019 Russia trip also focused on sanctions relief, but Putin now needs arms to replenish depleted stocks for the Ukraine war. In return, Kim seeks to modernize North Korea's dated air force and navy.

In this photo released via the Telegram channel of Mikhail Degtyarev, the governor of Russia's Far Eastern region of Khabarovsky Krai, we see North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the center, attentively listening to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade and Industry Denis Manturov, positioned to his center-left. This moment took place during their visit to a Russian aircraft plant specializing in the production of fighter jets, located in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, roughly 6,200 kilometers (3,900 miles) to the east of Moscow, Russia, on Friday, September 15, 2023. (Photograph courtesy of the Telegram channel of Mikhail Degtyarev, governor of the Russian Far Eastern region of Khabarovsky Krai, via AP)

The US accuses North Korea of supplying weapons to Russia.

Since 2022, the US has accused North Korea of providing ammunition, artillery and rockets to Russia, likely Soviet-era copies. Officials say North Korean munitions have already been utilized in Ukraine.

On Thursday, the US, South Korean and Japanese national security advisers held talks expressing grave concerns about Russia-North Korea weapons deals, warning of consequences.

In this photograph shared by the governor of Russia's Far Eastern region, Khabarovsky Krai, Mikhail Degtyarev, we see North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the center, warmly shaking hands with employees during his visit to a Russian aircraft plant specializing in the production of fighter jets. This facility is located in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, approximately 6,200 kilometers (3,900 miles) to the east of Moscow, Russia, on Friday, September 15, 2023. (Photograph courtesy of the governor of Khabarovsky Krai's Telegram channel via AP)

They reiterated commitment to North Korean denuclearization and noted any arms exports to Russia would directly violate multiple UNSC resolutions that Russia itself approved.

Comments from US and South Korean officials on Friday further condemned Russian attempts to procure North Korean weapons.

In this photograph released through the Telegram channel of Mikhail Degtyarev, the governor of Russia's Far Eastern region of Khabarovsky Krai, we see North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, positioned at the center, during his visit to a Russian aircraft plant specializing in the construction of fighter jets. This facility is situated in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, approximately 6,200 kilometers (3,900 miles) to the east of Moscow, Russia, on Friday, September 15, 2023. To the right of Kim Jong Un stands Mikhail Degtyarev, the governor of the Russian Far Eastern region of Khabarovsky Krai. (Photograph courtesy of the Telegram channel of Mikhail Degtyarev, governor of the Russian Far Eastern region of Khabarovsky Krai, via AP)

However, South Korea ruled out providing lethal aid to Ukraine in retaliation, only supplying non-lethal equipment given its policy against assisting countries at war.

Analysts also question how willing Russia would be to share sensitive military technologies with North Korea in return for its outdated conventional arms. But Russia's urgent military needs may override such hesitations.

In this image shared via the Telegram channel of Mikhail Degtyarev, the governor of Russia's Far Eastern Khabarovsky Krai region, we see North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the center-left, touring a Russian aircraft plant that specializes in manufacturing fighter jets. This plant is located in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, approximately 6,200 kilometers (3,900 miles) east of Moscow, Russia, on Friday, September 15, 2023. (Photograph courtesy of the Telegram channel of Mikhail Degtyarev, governor of the Russian Far Eastern region of Khabarovsky Krai, via AP)

Putin Bullish on Russia-North Korea Ties, Avoids Weapons Talk

Putin was upbeat about cooperation in spheres like transport and agriculture, providing humanitarian assistance but evading questions on military ties.

He confirmed accepting Kim's invitation to visit Pyongyang and Russia's foreign minister will travel to North Korea in October.

The distinctive train of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is spotted at the railway station upon his arrival in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, located approximately 6,200 kilometers (3,900 miles) east of Moscow, within the Russian Far Eastern Amur region, on Friday, September 15, 2023. (AP Photo)

At the summit, Kim pledged North Korea's "full and unconditional support" for Russia's "just fight" against "hegemonic forces", alluding to the Ukraine war. But official reporting on Kim's Russia visit remains limited, with more propaganda expected trumpeting Kim's activities.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's motorcade departs from the railway station after his arrival by special train in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, approximately 6,200 kilometers (3,900 miles) east of Moscow, in the Russian Far Eastern Amur region, on Friday, September 15, 2023. (AP Photo)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's motorcade reaches the railway station as he prepares to depart from Komsomolsk-on-Amur, approximately 6,200 kilometers (3,900 miles) east of Moscow, in the Russian Far Eastern Amur region, on Friday, September 15, 2023. (AP Photo)

Key Factors Driving Russia's Outreach to North Korea

Several factors are catalyzing Russia's outreach to North Korea:

  1. Replenishing Military Stocks: Russia has experienced severe ammunition and equipment losses in Ukraine. North Korean arms can help plug shortfalls.
  2. Accessing North Korean Technology: Russia could gain useful knowledge regarding North Korea's missile, nuclear and cyber capabilities.
  3. Applying Pressure on the US: Engagement with North Korea compels the US to divert intelligence and military assets from Ukraine.
  4. Creating a US Foreign Policy Quandary: Weapons deals with North Korea will confront the US with a tough choice of focusing on Russia or North Korean denuclearization.
  5. Leveraging Historical Ties: Russia backed North Korea during the Korean War. Their communist links foster amicability.
  6. Countering Western Sanctions: New Russia-North Korea trade could offset economic damage from US-led sanctions.

Possible Assistance Russia Could Provide to North Korea

In return for arms supplies, Russia may aid North Korea's military modernization through:

  • Advanced aircraft and missile technology to improve air and naval capacity
  • Expertise and equipment for North Korea's nuclear and missile programs
  • Cyber warfare capabilities to enhance North Korea's hacking skills
  • Training North Korean pilots and technicians in Russia
  • Circumventing sanctions to transfer dual-use technology
  • Energy infrastructure investments and food exports

Concerns for the United States and Its Allies

Closer Russia-North Korea collaboration has worrying implications for US interests and regional stability:

  • Accelerating North Korea's nuclear and missile advancements
  • Russia assisting North Korean circumvention of sanctions
  • Increased risk of North Korean proliferation of nuclear and missile technology
  • Pressure on US alliance with South Korea and Japan
  • Further challenges in denuclearizing North Korea
  • Russia gaining economic and political leverage over North Korea
  • Potential stationing of Russian military assets in North Korea

To mitigate risks, the US and allies will likely enhance deterrence, strengthen information sharing, enforce sanctions strictly and continue urging North Korean denuclearization. But with both Russia and North Korea highly isolated, their strategic calculus strongly favors bolstering ties. Containing spill-over risks from this growing alignment will test US diplomacy and alliances in new ways.


Summarised from the original article by - apnews.com

World NewsRussia Ukraine WarRussiaUkraineRussia Ukraine ConflictNorth KoreaDictatorshipDictatorKim Jong UnVladimir PutinWeapons DealRussia North Korea Weapons DealGlobal Conflicts

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