Bloomberg: Kim Jong Un with Vladimir Putin meeting “presents a very modern security challenge to the US and its allies”

11:34 20.06.2024 •

Korean people greet Putin in Pyongyang.
Photo: Sputnik

Kim Jong Un is pulling out all the stops for Vladimir Putin’s first visit to North Korea in 24 years, greeting him personally at the airport and staging lavish displays of public adoration for the Russian president on the streets of Pyongyang.

For all the cheesy echoes of a 1950s their meeting today presents a very modern security challenge to the US and its allies, notes Bloomberg.

Kim pledged to “unconditionally” support Putin’s war on Ukraine, lining up North Korea’s vast arsenal of weapons to aid Russia’s military.

The support is vital for Putin as his army confronts Ukrainian forces that are starting to take delivery of billions of dollars of new weapons from the US and Europe after being starved of arms for months.

Kim has his own interest in closer ties, with Russia potentially able to supply technology to aid North Korea’s program of spy satellites. That’s as tensions between Pyongyang and South Korea are surging, including clashes involving troops along their heavily fortified border…

China, Pyongyang’s main political patron, is bolstering economic relations with Russia that are helping Putin ease the pressure of sanctions. Tensions between Beijing and the US and its regional allies in Asia are mounting too.

The two leaders signed a deal Wednesday to come to the other’s aid if attacked, rekindling an agreement dating back to the Cold War, when the Soviet Union was the main backer for Pyongyang. Kim said the agreement elevated relations with Russia to an alliance.

“I would like to stress that the birth of this treaty, the most powerful treaty in the history of North Korea-Russia relations, was possible thanks to President Putin’s outstanding foresightedness and bold determination,” Kim said at a news briefing after the talks.

While Kim added the military deal is for defensive purposes, it raises the risks for the US and its partners in responding to Moscow and Pyongyang and is a symbol of their defiance against Western powers.

“Russia hasn’t been an active player in Asia for a long time, both militarily and diplomatically. But its upgraded and comprehensive relationship with North Korea means that Asia has now quickly woken up to a threat by another big power,” said Duyeon Kim, a Seoul-based adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. “An inadvertent conflict based on miscalculation could potentially escalate to a regional or world war.”

“Today we have prepared a new fundamental document that will form the basis of our relations for the long term,” Putin told the North Korean leader. “We highly appreciate your consistent and unwavering support for Russian policy, including in the Ukrainian direction.”

Kim said his country would “unwaveringly, unconditionally support Russia’s every policy regardless of any complication on the international geopolitical situation going forward.”

The North Korean leader said the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Treaty agreed with Putin would strengthen cooperation between the two countries, including in the economic, political and military spheres, writes Bloomberg.


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