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North Korea: Putin and Kim Pledge Mutual Help Against ‘Aggression’

Mr Putin has in recent months faced difficulties on the battlefield in Ukraine, particularly with depleting weapons. During their last face-to-face meeting in September, when Mr Kim visited Russia, the two had discussed military cooperation and were suspected of striking an arms deal.

Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un have signed an agreement pledging that Russia and North Korea will help each other in the event of “aggression” against either country.

The Russian president made the announcement following talks with Mr Kim during a lavish visit to Pyongyang, his first since 2000.

Mr Kim said it took their relationship to “a new, high level of alliance”.

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The pact cements a rapidly blossoming partnership that has worried the West. It could also have significant ramifications for the world, say observers.

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Any kind of mutual defence treaty could possibly see Moscow assisting Pyongyang in a future conflict on the Korean peninsula, while North Korea could openly help Russia in its war on Ukraine.

Mr Kim is already accused of supplying Russia with weapons, while Mr Putin is thought to be giving the North Koreans space technology that could aid their missile programme. The two last met in Russia in September.

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On Wednesday they signed a “comprehensive partnership agreement” that included a clause where they agreed to provide “mutual assistance in the event of aggression” against either country, said Mr Putin. He did not spell out what would constitute aggression.

Mr Putin has in recent months faced difficulties on the battlefield in Ukraine, particularly with depleting weapons. During their last face-to-face meeting in September, when Mr Kim visited Russia, the two had discussed military cooperation and were suspected of striking an arms deal. Since then there has been growing evidence that Russia has been deploying North Korean missiles in Ukraine.

In the last few weeks however, the US and other Nato countries have given permission to Ukraine to use Western weapons on Russian soil, in a significant move that Kyiv hopes would turn the tide in its favour.

Mr Putin warned of consequences and earlier this month said he was considering arming adversaries of the West with long-range weapons – something that North Korea has been developing.

He criticised the West’s decision again on Wednesday, saying it was “a gross violation” of restrictions under international obligations.

He also took issue with Western sanctions on Russia and North Korea, saying that they both “do not tolerate the language of blackmail and diktat” and would continue to counter the West’s use of “sanctions strangling” to maintain “hegemony”.

Mr Kim meanwhile praised their treaty as marking a significant and historic moment in their relationship. He also expressed “full support and solidarity” for Russia in its war on Ukraine.

Red carpet for Putin in lavish ceremony in Pyongyang

The treaty is likely to anger Seoul, which had ahead of the meeting warned Russia against going “beyond a certain point”.

National Security adviser Chang Ho-jin had told his Russian counterpart that Moscow “should take into consideration which among North Korea and South Korea will be more important to it, once Russia ends its war with Ukraine”.

Rachel Lee, a senior fellow at the Stimson Center think tank’s Korea programme, said any such treaty would have “significant implications for the region and the world”.

Besides the possibility of Russian intervention in a fresh conflict between the two Koreas, “if North Korea continues to supply weapons to Russia, and Russia provides advanced military technology to North Korea, we can face an even greater global [weapons] proliferation problem.”

Chad O’Carroll, a North Korean specialist from NK News, said on X, formerly Twitter, that the clause could open the door to conflict-related cooperation, including the possibility of North Korean soldiers assisting Russia in Ukraine.

Sourcebbc

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