In a joint statement released on Thursday, South Korea, Japan, and the United States delivered a strong condemnation of North Korea’s supply of arms to Moscow.
The statement revealed that “several” such deliveries have been made by Pyongyang, raising concerns and tensions in the international community.
Historically, Russia and North Korea have maintained a close alliance, but their actions have come under scrutiny due to their defiance of global sanctions. Moscow faces sanctions for its invasion of Ukraine, while Pyongyang is under international scrutiny for its relentless testing of nuclear weapons.
In September, the leaders of both nations, Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin, held a high-profile summit in Russia’s far east. This summit heightened Western fears that North Korea might provide military support to Russia for its ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
In response to these concerns, Washington, alongside its crucial East Asian security allies, Seoul and Tokyo, issued a joint statement. They expressed their strong condemnation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) for supplying military equipment and munitions to Russia for use in the war against Ukraine.
The statement read, “Such weapons deliveries, several of which we now confirm have been completed, will significantly increase the human toll of Russia’s war of aggression.” It underscored the severity of the situation and its potential impact on the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
During Kim Jong Un’s visit to Russia in September, he declared that bilateral ties with Moscow were his country’s “number one priority.” Experts have suggested that North Korea seeks various forms of military assistance in return, including satellite technology and the modernization of its aging Soviet-era military equipment.
Notably, North Korea has faced setbacks in its attempts to launch a military spy satellite into orbit this year. This raises concerns about its military capabilities and its desire to seek external support for its ambitions.
The joint statement also pointed out that Pyongyang is “seeking military assistance to advance its own military capabilities” in exchange for its support to Russia. The allies emphasized that any arms transfers to or from North Korea would violate multiple UN Security Council resolutions.
They highlighted that Russia itself had voted in favor of these resolutions containing the restrictions, expressing deep concern about the potential transfer of nuclear or ballistic missile-related technology to North Korea.
In August, leaders from Tokyo, Seoul, and Washington convened at Camp David and agreed to a multi-year plan involving regular joint exercises and the sharing of real-time data on North Korea. Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s leader, has publicly described this growing defense alliance as “the worst actual threat” facing his isolated nation.
The international community continues to closely monitor the evolving situation in the region as tensions rise due to North Korea’s alleged support to Russia in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.