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White House: Russia, North Korea talks on arms supplies move forward

by Martin Fornusek August 30, 2023 11:02 PM 2 min read
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un receives Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in Pyongyang, North Korea, on July 27, 2023. (API/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
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The U.S. is concerned that the negotiations between Russia and North Korea on arms supplies are actively advancing, Reuters reported on Aug. 30, citing National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby.

"We remain concerned that ... (North Korea) continues to consider providing military support to Russia's military forces in Ukraine," Kirby told journalists during a press briefing.

"High-level discussions may continue in coming months," he added.

Kirby pointed out that North Korea has provided infantry rockets and missiles to Russia in 2022, and Moscow has been seeking further arms supplies since then to bolster its war efforts in Ukraine.

In the spring of 2023, Moscow reportedly approached Pyongyang with the offer of food supplies in exchange for weapons. North Korea has been heavily militarized since the end of the war with its Southern Korean neighbors in 1953 but suffers from chronic food shortages.

Earlier in August, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visited North Korea's capital to convince the country's leadership to provide artillery ammunition that Russian forces could use in its war against Ukraine.

Moscow also reportedly seeks to obtain raw materials for its defense industry production.

According to U.S. intelligence, another group of Russian officials may have traveled to North Korea following Shoigu's visit. Kirby added that Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have exchanged letters pledging to increase their countries' cooperation.

Washington has repeatedly warned North Korea against providing Russia with arms. On Aug. 17, the U.S. sanctioned three entities attempting to facilitate North Korea's weaponry supplies to Russia.

As the full-scale war against Ukraine takes a heavy toll on the Russian military arsenal and Western sanctions target Russia's ability to quickly refill the stocks, Moscow has been turning to other countries for weapons supplies.

Russian forces have been massively deploying Iranian-made Shahed kamikaze drones in Ukraine, while U.S. intelligence reported in late July that China is providing Moscow with significant supplies of drones and dual-use technology that can be utilized for military purposes.

US cautions Russia on North Korea military ties
Military cooperation between Russia and North Korea would violate UN resolutions aimed at restricting North Korea’s nuclear program, US State Department official Vedant Patel said at an Aug. 15 press briefing.
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