13 september, 2023
A Brotherhood in Arms?
Quick Comment - insights from SCEEUS's experts on breaking news and hot topics
On September 13, Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held talks at the Vostochny space launch facility in the Amur Region of the Russian Far East. The very fact that this meeting was taking place became a worldwide sensation. Shortly before the meeting, Washington expressed concerns that Putin and Kim Jong-un could agree on large supplies of North Korean artillery ammunition to Russia. US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said that arms negotiations between Russia and North Korea are actively developing. From a military point of view, such a deal would make sense for Moscow. During the fighting against Ukraine, Russian troops spend thousands of shells every day, and the press has repeatedly reported about the “shell famine”. At the same time, the North Korean army is armed with clones of Soviet artillery systems. Therefore, the DPRK has accumulated a large number of shells that are suitable for Russian artillery pieces. According to experts, in return, North Korea may request technologies for the production of space satellites and nuclear submarines.
By concluding such a deal, Moscow would put itself in a difficult position. It voted several times in the UN Security Council for sanctions against the DPRK. These sanctions prohibit both the provision of military technology to North Korea and any military exports from the country. At the same time, China, with which Moscow would not want to spoil relations, voted for such sanctions.
As expected, there were no statements about the arms deal following the negotiations at Vostochny. However, their organizers have made many hints about such a possibility. Vladimir Putin said that the leader of the DPRK shows great interest in missile technology, and that Russians plan to show “the DPRK delegation new objects”. As for compliance with UN sanctions against North Korea, the Russian representatives were rather vague. On the one hand, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov assured that there would be no new sanctions. However, on the other hand, Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said that Russia’s position on UN Security Council sanctions against the DPRK does not hinder the development of relations between Moscow and Pyongyang. Putin also said that Russia complies with all restrictions on military-technical cooperation with the DPRK, but “there are things that we can talk about, discuss, think about, and there are prospects here”. If the “arms deal” still took place, then it will not be possible to keep it secret for a long time. New contracts will immediately manifest themselves in a sharp increase in transportation between the DPRK and Russia.
Meanwhile, Moscow, which is vainly seeking the support of the international community for its aggression in Ukraine, has received it now from a rogue state. “Now Russia is waging a sacred struggle for the protection of its state sovereignty and security, while simultaneously fighting hegemonic forces that oppose Russia”, Kim said and expressed his full support for the Russian leadership.