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China should also be concerned about Russia-North Korea pact, White House says

by Martin Fornusek June 20, 2024 10:29 PM 3 min read
U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby speaks during a news conference in Washington, D.C., on March 21, 2023. (Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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A recently signed partnership agreement between Moscow and Pyongyang should worry not only the U.S. but also China as it threatens to undermine the stability of the Korean peninsula, the White House said on June 20.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signed the pact earlier this week, pledging to provide each other aid if either is attacked. Putin did not rule out that this assistance would include weapons.

"It's to be of concern to any country that cares about maintaining peace and stability not just on the Korean Peninsula, but in the Indo-Pacific," U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said in comments cited by the Yonhap news agency.

According to Kirby, the agreement should concern any country that believes in the U.N. Security Council resolutions and anybody supporting Ukraine.

"We would think that that concern would be shared by the People's Republic of China since this agreement also seems to be in direct contrast with the statement that President Putin and President Xi (Jinping) made in Beijing just a month ago, in which both countries call for a peaceful and diplomatic solution to this situation on the Korean Peninsula."

Russia, China and North Korea have new dynamics. And it’s bad for Ukraine
The White House announced on Oct. 13 that North Korea had delivered more than 1,000 containers of military equipment and ammunition to bolster Russia’s war against Ukraine. Washington published pictures tracking a set of containers as it traveled from Najin, North Korea, to Dunay, Russia, by a Russ…

Russia has been deepening ties with both North Korea and China throughout its full-scale war in Ukraine.

While Pyongyang has supplied Moscow with extensive military packages, including ballistic missiles and millions of artillery shells, Beijing insists it does not provide lethal aid to either side.

China remains Russia's key economic lifeline amid international sanctions and the leading source of dual-use goods feeding the Russian defense industry.

Beijing is also North Korea's leading trading partner, and the two countries share a defense treaty dating back to the 1960s.

"Of course, we are going to continue to evaluate our posture throughout the Indo-Pacific as needed, but we have prioritized this part of the world since the beginning of this administration," Kirby said.

In response to the North Korea-Russia pact, Seoul said it would reconsider its policy of not directly sending military supplies to Kyiv. Putin threatened with unspecified consequences to South Korea if its arms reach Ukraine.

The Korean peninsula has been divided since the war in the 1950s, and both Seoul and Pyongyang view each other with suspicion. North Korea has repeatedly issued threats and provocations against its southern neighbor.

Putin threatens a response if South Korea sends arms to Ukraine
Russia will take decisions that are “unlikely to please South Korea” if Seoul decides to send arms to Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters at the end of his visit to Vietnam on June 20.

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