By Simon Hutagalung
The bilateral ties between Russia and North Korea are known as North Korea-Russia relations. Following the fall of the Soviet Union, relations between the two nations persisted. The election of Vladimir Putin as Russia’s president restored significance to the relationship. Russia backed a resolution on the imposition of further sanctions against North Korea by the United Nations Security Council. In response to Kim Jong-un’s orders to the military to deploy nuclear warheads so they can be fired at “any moment” and be ready to launch pre-emptive attacks against its enemies, Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov stated, “The Kremlin is concerned over North Korea’s statements about its readiness to use nuclear forces and urges all states to display restraint.”
Russia supplies North Korea with a new, high-tech hardware weapon, and North Korea provides military support to Russia. Russia has already given North Korea military hardware, instruction, and technological support. This covers the provision of armaments, including military vehicles, artillery and guns. There have also been rumors of military forces from North Korea training in Russia. The Soviet Armed Forces assisted the Korean People’s Army during the conflict. As a founding member of the Communist bloc, North Korea benefited greatly from Soviet political and military backing. Stalinism had a strong effect on the massive personality cult that surrounded North Korea’s ruling family. During the Sino-Soviet split in the 1960s, North Korea attempted to retain positive ties with both China and the Soviet Union while competing for control within the country.
President Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un of North Korea seem prepared to reach a decisive and pressing agreement for their respective countries as they arrive in Russia for their meeting. North Korea requires Russian experience in developing new weapons, while Russia urgently needs military equipment and ammunition supplied as quickly as feasible. In conventional warfare, North Korea possesses an ample supply of anti-tank missiles and self-propelled artillery. By land, delivery may be completed quickly because of the Najin-Hasan Railway that links the two nations. Russia and North Korea both possess armaments that are comparable enough to be used immediately. The military systems of the former Soviet Union have served as the basis for North Korea’s weaponry development. For instance, since both nations utilize shells of the same size, supplies might reach the front lines immediately. Regarding Kim’s North Korea, there are many wishes. It contains fertilizer, food and energy ― all of which are among Russia’s top exports.
Securing those shipments as part of a deal would be advantageous for North Korea, which is now experiencing a food crisis. Since United Nations sanctions forced tens of thousands of workers overseas to come home, North Korea also wants to deploy laborers to Russia. For Pyongyang, the money from these laborers working overseas was a significant source of funding. North Korea’s alleged supply of ammunition and military hardware to Russia is substantially increasing the death toll from Russia’s war in Ukraine, according to the United States and Japan. The senior diplomats from the United States and Japan released a joint statement a few days after the foreign minister of Russia mocked a recent American assertion that his nation got weapons from North Korea, claiming that Washington had not provided sufficient evidence to support the claim. “We will persist in collaborating with the global community to reveal Russia’s endeavors to procure military hardware from (North Korea),” stated the joint declaration issued by Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Spy satellites are allegedly among the military armaments North Korea hopes to produce with Russian help. North Korea promised to launch a third spy satellite in October after its previous two attempts to do so were unsuccessful due to technical issues. However, the primary launch complex of North Korea appears to be empty, according to a statement released by South Korea’s Unification Ministry. The United States and South Korea have been increasing their regular military drills and reintroducing some trilateral training including Japan in response to North Korea’s increasing nuclear capabilities. The South Korean, American and Japanese armed forces carried out their first-ever trilateral flying drill this week close to the Korean Peninsula. The navy of South Korea reported that, as part of larger yearly military preparation, it has been conducting a major maritime exercise off the west coast of the Korean Peninsula this week. According to a naval statement, patrol planes and U.S. military helicopters participated in this year’s live-fire maritime training. North Korea refrained from commenting on the military exercises right away. However, it has repeatedly denounced U.S.-South Korean drills as practice for an invasion and retaliated with missile launches.
Russia’s possible acquisition of weaponry from North Korea may have an impact on the security and stability of the area, especially the Korean Peninsula. Arms races, which result in higher tensions and instability, happen when nations compete with one another to acquire military might. Russia may start an arms race in the area if it were to buy weapons from North Korea since its neighbors might feel pressured to bolster their armed forces in retaliation. This can lead to an increase in hostilities and possibly cause instability on the Korean Peninsula.
North Korea backs Russia militarily and Russia gives North Korea a cutting-edge hardware weapon. North Korea has previously received military equipment, training and technology assistance from Russia. Japan and the United States responded negatively to the agreement between North Korea and Russia. Russia might start an arms race and destabilize the Korean Peninsula if it buys weapons from North Korea.
Simon Hutagalung is a retired diplomat from the Indonesian Foreign Ministry. The opinions expressed in this article are his own.