ANI Photo | Renewed Russia-North Korea military cooperation poses threat to global security: Report

Several analysts have raised concerns that the renewed military cooperation between North Korea and Russia in 2023 could increase threats to global security in the coming years, Voice of America (VOA) reported.
As Russia’s war in Ukraine approaches its second anniversary, Moscow has turned to North Korea for help in replenishing its depleted stockpile of arms. In exchange, Russia has suggested that it will help develop weapons that Pyongyang wants, including a spy satellite.
On November 28, North Korea claimed that a satellite it launched into orbit took photos of critical US sites, including the Norfolk Naval Station, the Newport News shipyard, the White House and the Pentagon.
On the other hand, the South Korean intelligence agency believes Pyongyang was able to launch the satellite only because of technological assistance from Russia, VOA reported, citing South Korean lawmakers who were briefed by the agency in late November. Previous launch attempts failed in May and August.
Indo-Pacific countries, including Taiwan and Australia, as well as European countries such as the UK, France and Ukraine, described the satellite launch as a threat to their national security.
“We fear in particular that Russian counterparts [are acting] for the benefit of the North Korean regime,” said French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna following a November 23 meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing.
She said these actions are causing “destabilizing activities in the region in defiance of [UN] Security Council resolutions.”
Notably, China has not condemned Pyongyang’s satellite launch or the arms dealings between North Korea and Russia. It has also not used its leverage to curb North Korea’s threatening behaviour despite multiple requests from Washington and Seoul, VOA reported.
Robert Rapson, charge d’affaires and deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy in Seoul from 2018 to 2021, said Beijing does not feel threatened by these developments.
“In fact, it probably views them as useful for its posture and policies towards the US, South Korea and Japan,” he said.
At a UN Security Council meeting on November 27, US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Pyongyang’s satellite launch, which uses prohibited ballistic missile technology, is part of an effort to “advance its nuclear weapons delivery system.”
Ken Gause, senior adversary analytics specialist at the Center for Naval Analyses, said Moscow would be “willing to help” Pyongyang enhance its Hwasong-18 ICBMs.
North Korea on Monday conducted its fifth intercontinental ballistic missile test of the year. The missile was a Hwasong-18 ICBM, North Korea’s state-run KCNA said. It was the third Hwasong-18 ICBM that Pyongyang has tested after launches in April and July.
Modern fighter aircraft and air defense systems are the other weapons Pyongyang “desperately” wants, said Gary Samore, former White House coordinator for arms control and weapons of mass destruction during the Obama administration.
Samore said Pyongyang is looking to update its “very antiquated” air defense capabilities “to protect itself against the air superiority advantage” of the US and South Korea.
The arms dealings between North Korea and Russia seem to have solidified after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s visit to Russia, where he met Russian President Vladimir Putin, in September, according to VOA.
Putin appeared to nod to indicate Russia’s willingness to help Kim enhance its satellite technology during the September 13 meeting at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia’s Amur region.
Kim visited a fighter jet plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur on September 16 and the Knevichi Airbase and the Pacific Fleet in Vladivostok the next day.
But as early as 2022, Pyongyang had been delivering artillery shells to Russia for its war in Ukraine, according to the White House.
In January, the White House released satellite imagery showing North Korea sending shipments of arms to Russia via railcars the previous November.
The White House released another set of satellite images on October 13 showing more than 1,000 containers of military equipment and ammunition leaving from North Korea’s port of Najin.
Evans Revere, acting assistant secretary for East Asia and Pacific Affairs during the George W. Bush administration, said arms deals between Moscow and Pyongyang, which violate sanctions, are a “serious matter.”
He added, “The only question is how substantial and how much of an egregious violation of the UN Security Council resolutions.” (ANI)

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