US warns North Korea of consequences for potential arms deal with Russia
United States officials have issued a stern warning to North Korea, cautioning that the nation would “pay a price” should it proceed with an arms deal with Russia. This caution comes amidst reports of advancing negotiations between North Korea and Russia, raising concerns in the international community.
Speaking at a press briefing on Tuesday, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan emphasized that if Pyongyang were to supply weapons to Moscow for use in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, it would not bode well for North Korea’s standing on the global stage. While the specifics of these potential consequences were not detailed, it’s worth noting that North Korea is already facing sanctions imposed by both the United Nations and the United States due to its weapons of mass destruction program.
Sullivan reiterated the United States’ stance, stating that they have consistently urged North Korea, both publicly and privately, to honor their publicly stated commitments not to engage in such weapons transactions.
The National Security Council recently revealed that arms negotiations between Russia and North Korea are actively progressing. This revelation followed a visit by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to Pyongyang in July, aimed at persuading North Korea to sell artillery ammunition.
Adrienne Watson, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, indicated that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un anticipates further discussions, including possible “leader-level diplomatic engagement in Russia.” However, details regarding the timing and location of a potential meeting between Kim and Russian President Vladimir Putin remain undisclosed.
CNN reached out to the Russian embassy in Washington for comment, but the Kremlin declined to offer any statements on the matter, stating, “We have nothing to say on the subject.”
The New York Times initially reported on the anticipated Kim-Putin meeting in Russia, suggesting that it could occur later this month.
During the same press briefing, Sullivan suggested that these negotiations between Russia and North Korea highlight the success of Western economic sanctions in limiting Moscow’s defense capabilities. He also mentioned that specific targeted sanctions have been imposed to disrupt any potential weapons flow from North Korea to Russia.
Despite the ongoing war, Sullivan noted that there has been no evidence of North Korea actively supplying significant munitions or military resources to Russia. The reasons behind any potential shift in North Korea’s approach remain unclear.
Furthermore, Sullivan raised concerns about the quantity and quality of materials North Korea might provide in this potential deal. He observed that Russia’s need to turn to North Korea to bolster its defense capabilities in a war that was initially anticipated to be brief is significant.
North Korea had previously delivered infantry rockets and missiles to Russia for use by Wagner forces late last year. The current discussions could potentially expand this supply significantly, encompassing various types of munitions and raw materials.
Notably, the United States and its allies are also apprehensive about the technological exchange between North Korea and Russia. North Korea’s interest in technology that could enhance its satellite and nuclear-powered submarine capabilities has raised concerns. Such advancements could have significant implications for areas where North Korea has not fully developed its capabilities.
The increased frequency of North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile tests in recent months has raised alarm among the United States, South Korea, and Japan, as North Korea intensifies efforts to develop weapons capable of potentially reaching major U.S. cities. These developments continue to be closely monitored by international observers and policymakers.