Russia and North Korea’s foreign ministers met in Pyongyang to discuss boosting military ties following the US accusation of North Korea sending munitions to Russia for support in Ukraine. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov thanked North Korea for its strong support for Russia’s war on Ukraine.
The visit aims to discuss security cooperation and the timing of Russian President Putin’s visit to Pyongyang, following North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s recent visit to Russia’s Far East.
Kim’s visit to Russia triggered speculation that he seeks Russian technologies to modernize his nuclear arsenal in return for supplying conventional arms to refill Russia’s weapons inventory. Lavrov said that the relations have reached a qualitatively new strategic level after the historic summit between Putin and Kim on September 13. The visit was meant to discuss implementing the unspecified agreements between Putin and Kim.
Russia values North Korea’s unwavering support for its war on Ukraine and its decision to recognize the independence of Russian-backed separatist regions in eastern Ukraine. Russia’s Foreign Ministry states that only a select few countries, such as North Korea, explicitly declare their solidarity with Russia.
North Korea’s state media praises the country for remaining unfazed by US and West pressure and fully supporting Kim’s push to protect its security and economic interests. Choe at the dinner banquet said that Pyongyang and Moscow are building an “unbreakable comradely relationship” under Kim and Putin’s strategic decisions. The White House reported that North Korea has delivered over 1,000 containers of military equipment and munitions to Russia.
The White House has released images revealing containers loaded onto a Russian-flagged ship and moved via train to southwestern Russia. US accuses North Korea of providing Soviet-era ammunition, shells, and rockets to Russia through containers shipped between Najin and Dunay between September and October.
North Korea has denied shipping arms to Russia, but South Korean officials claim North Korean weapons provided to Russia have already been used in Ukraine. The recent flurry of diplomacy between Moscow and Pyongyang highlights their aligning interests despite their separate, intensifying confrontations with the US.