US warns North Korea against providing Putin platform for war aims

by Admin
US warns North Korea against providing Putin platform for war aims

The Biden administration this week warned North Korea against providing Russian President Vladimir Putin “a platform to promote his war of aggression” against Ukraine ahead of his possible trip to Pyongyang.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un invited Putin to Pyongyang when he visited Russia in September, and preparations are being made for his trip, the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry said without providing a specific date, Russian news agency Tass reported May 30.

Tass quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko as saying preparations for Putin’s visit to North Korea as well as to Vietnam are at “an advanced stage.”

VOA contacted the Russian Embassy in Seoul, asking if dates are set for Putin’s visit to Pyongyang, but did not receive a reply.

There was speculation that Putin would visit North Korea after he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in May.

In response to Rudenko’s remarks about Putin’s trip to Pyongyang, a U.S. State Department spokesperson said in an email to VOA’s Korean Service Tuesday, “As Russia continues to seek international support to sustain its illegal and brutal war against Ukraine, we reiterate that no country should give Putin a platform to promote his war of aggression and otherwise allow him to normalize his atrocities.”

The spokesperson continued, using the abbreviation for North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, that “deepening cooperation between Russia and the DPRK should be of great concern to anyone interested in maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.”

The spokesperson added, “The DPRK has and continues to provide material support to the Russian Federation for their aggression in Ukraine.”

Kim Yo Jong, Kim Jong Un’s powerful sister, denied on May 17 that North Korea was engaged in arms dealings with Russia.

North Korean missiles have been turning up in Ukraine, indicating growing cooperation between Pyongyang and Moscow, according to a report released by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency on May 29.

The report shows the pictures of what it says is debris from a North Korean short-range ballistic missile found in Kharkiv in January that Russia used against Ukraine. Pyongyang has been providing ballistic missiles to Moscow since November in addition to shipping hundreds of containers full of ammunition to Russia in August, the report said.

About seven months after its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Russia sought to purchase millions of artillery shells and rockets from North Korea, the report said.

Experts said Putin’s trip to Pyongyang will allow him to boost military cooperation with North Korea that began when Kim visited Russia in September.

“Putin, who in the past has openly broached the prospect of bolstering military collaboration with Pyongyang, could use his time in the North to move — or at least discuss moving — arms and military technology agreements toward the finish line,” Daniel DePetris, a fellow at Washington-based think tank Defense Priorities, said in an email.

“North Korean munitions have given him critical time to reconstitute Russia’s own domestic military production so Putin will attempt to keep the North Korean arms spigot flowing,” he continued.

Putin reportedly said Russia will continue to “develop” its relations with North Korea regardless of what others think when he met with the heads of international news agencies on the sidelines of theInternational Economic Forum held in St. Petersburg on Wednesday.

He also said North Korea’s nuclear issue will “gradually be resolved” if Pyongyang does not feel threatened and thanked South Korea for not directly providing weapons to Ukraine, according to Tass.

The same day, Putin warned that Moscow could provide long-range weapons to the West’s adversaries so they could strike Western countries in response to NATO allies, including the United States, allowing Ukraine to use their arms to attack inside Russia.

David Maxwell, vice president of the Center for Asia Pacific Strategy, said during a phone interview that Pyongyang is more likely to “act on its own interest” than to heed Moscow if asked to cause provocations on the Korean Peninsula or elsewhere.

Maxwell also said Putin’s possible visit to North Korea could be used as “a propaganda vehicle” for Moscow and Pyongyang.

They will try to “reinforce the reputation of both, especially in terms of alliances” and portray their causes — Russia’s war in Ukraine and North Korea’s threats against South Korea — as somewhat “legitimate” despite causing massive human rights abuses, Maxwell said.

Pyongyang described Putin’s war in Ukraine as “the sacred war of justice” by “the valiant Russian army” engaged in “the special military operation to annihilate neo-Nazis” in a statement released on May 16 by its state-run KCNA.

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