US Says North Korea Will ‘Pay a Price’ If It Supplies Arms to Russia

Aldgra Fredly
By Aldgra Fredly
September 6, 2023Asia & Pacific

North Korea will “pay a price” if it supplies weapons to Russia for use against Ukraine, a top U.S. official said Tuesday, as Washington observed arms negotiations between the two countries.

National security advisor Jake Sullivan said there has been no indication that North Korea is actively supplying munitions to Russia but that arms negotiations between the two countries are “actively advancing.”

Mr. Sullivan said that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu had likely traveled to Pyongyang in late July “to ask for weapons” from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

He added that Mr. Kim may be anticipating “in-person leader-level discussions” with Russia about their arms deal but that he could not provide a specific timeline.

“I can’t get into all the details of what we know. But at the broad parameters, that is what we are seeing: ongoing discussions and discussions where we have information that the leadership of North Korea sees this as potentially leading to leader-level engagement,” he told reporters.

The Kremlin has refused to comment on a possible meeting soon between Mr Kim and President Vladimir Putin.

Mr. Shoigu visited North Korea on July 25 for the 70th anniversary of the end of the Korean War.

After his visit ended, a Russian Air Force plane was spotted departing Moscow on July 31 and landing in Pyongyang, where it remained grounded for approximately 36 hours.

Kim Jong Un
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Chinese Communist Party politburo member Li Hongzhong and Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu attend a military parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Korean War armistice in Pyongyang, North Korea, on July 27, 2023. (KCNA via Reuters)

Mr. Sullivan said that Moscow is seeking support from North Korea because “we have continued to squeeze Russia’s defense industrial base, and they are now going about looking to whatever source they can find for things like artillery ammunition.”

Providing Russia with weapons for its ongoing war against Ukraine “is not going to reflect well on North Korea, and they will pay a price for this in the international community,” the U.S. official added.

He did not specify the potential repercussions for North Korea but noted that the United States would maintain sanctions to impede arms supply to Russia. North Korea has been subject to United Nations sanctions since 2006 over its weapons of mass destruction program.

“We have continued to convey privately as well as publicly to the North Koreans—and asked allies and partners to do the same—our view that they should abide by their publicly stated commitments that they’re not going to provide these weapons,” Mr. Sullivan said.

Russia, North Korea Discuss Possible Joint Drills

Russia’s war in Ukraine, which has been ongoing since February last year, has led to low ammunition supplies in both countries and the United States is concerned that North Korea could supply weapons to Russia.

Vladimir Putin Kim Jong Un
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Far Eastern Federal University campus on Russky island in the far-eastern Russian port of Vladivostok on April 25, 2019. (Alexey Nikolsky/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on Aug. 30 that Moscow is seeking “significant quantities and multiple types of munitions” and “raw materials” for its military–industrial base, as well as “electronic components” for use in military systems.

“We will continue to identify, expose, and counter Russian attempts to acquire military equipment from [North Korea] or, frankly, any other state that is prepared to support its war in Ukraine,” he said.

Both Moscow and Pyongyang have denied previous U.S. allegations that North Korea had provided Russia with arms, though the two countries have promised to boost defense cooperation.

Mr. Shoigu said Monday that Russia is in talks with North Korea for possible joint military drills.

According to South Korea’s spy agency, Mr. Shoigu may have proposed that North Korea join trilateral military drills with China. It remains unclear whether North Korea accepted the offer.

Russia’s ambassador to North Korea, Alexander Matsegora, told Russia’s state news agency TASS that he was not aware of any plans for North Korea to participate in trilateral military drills with China and Russia but that, in his opinion, it would be “appropriate” in light of U.S.-led exercises in the region.

Dorothy Li contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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