SEOUL, South Korea — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has taken steps to further develop relations with Russia, despite warnings from the United States and Seoul about potential weapons deals. Experts believe that during Kim’s recent visit to Russia, banned arms transfer deals and other forms of cooperation were likely discussed. Both countries are determined to strengthen their ties amidst ongoing confrontations with the West.
During a Politburo meeting on Wednesday, Kim emphasized the need to enhance bilateral cooperation at a practical level to build upon the success of his Russia trip. He stressed the importance of expanding cooperation across all sectors to benefit the people of both countries.
While in Russia, Kim met with President Vladimir Putin and visited important military and technology sites. They expressed a willingness to cooperate on defense matters, causing concern among South Korea and its allies, including the United States.
Observers believe that Kim may provide ammunition to help replenish Putin’s arms stores and support Russia’s activities in Ukraine, in exchange for advanced weapons technology and economic assistance.
The U.S., South Korea, and their partners have warned that Russia and North Korea will face consequences if they engage in deals that violate U.N. Security Council resolutions prohibiting weapons trade with North Korea. Russia, as a permanent member of the Security Council, voted in favor of these resolutions.
Speaking at the U.N. General Assembly, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol denounced any attempt by a permanent Security Council member to undermine international norms, describing it as both dangerous and paradoxical. Yoon emphasized that South Korea, along with its allies, will not stand idle in the face of a potential Pyongyang-Moscow weapons deal that threatens Ukraine and South Korea.
Many experts believe that North Korea seeks Russian assistance to advance the development of high-tech weapons systems, including spy satellites, nuclear-powered submarines, and long-range missiles. Kim aims to modernize his weapons arsenals to gain more concessions from the U.S. and South Korea.