North Korea is capable of supplying “good quality” weapons to Russia to support its war in Ukraine, an analyst has said.
But he suggested that China would monitor the situation – and any possible arms deal – very closely. And he suggested it could cause divisions between Kim Jong Un and his “paymasters” in Beijing.
It comes as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pledged support for Russia’s “just fight” during a summit with President Vladimir Putin. The United States has warned that the summit could result in a deal to supply munitions for Moscow’s war in Ukraine.
After visiting launch pads with Putin at a remote space base in Russia’s Far East, Kim expressed his “full and unconditional support” and said Pyongyang would always stand with Moscow on the “anti-imperialist” front. “. The leaders gathered at the Vostochny Cosmodrome for a summit that underscores how their interests align in the face of separate and intensifying confrontations with the United States.
Downing Street said Putin’s isolation on the world stage had forced him to find an ally in fellow outcast Kim. But Rishi Sunak’s official spokesman said: “We urge the DPRK (North Korea) to cease its arms negotiations with Russia and respect public commitments made by Pyongyang not to sell arms to the Russia”.
And now an analyst has claimed Kim could provide Putin’s regime with “good quality ammunition” – but said China would be watching very closely.
Aidan Foster-Carter, a researcher in sociology and modern Korea at the University of Leeds, said Kim and Putin both had something the other wanted. He said Russia needed artillery shells and that he was “betting” that Kim needed money, food and cheap oil.
Foster-Carter told Sky News that Kim’s North Korea is a “highly militarized state” that focuses on weapons production. “They can probably provide good quality ammunition,” he said.
However, Foster-Carter said there is a bigger question than what Putin and Kim are plotting – and that is what Beijing thinks of their budding friendship.
He said: “Russia and North Korea have not been that close. Russia gives virtually nothing to North Korea for historical reasons.
“China is the state that finances North Korea. Xi Jinping, who pays Kim Jong Un’s bills, may wonder why the first visit Kim chose to make after the pandemic is not aimed at him and to China, so it will be interesting to watch that.”
However, senior Russian and Chinese officials met in North Korea earlier this summer and examined lethal new nuclear weapons that would have sufficient range to strike targets anywhere in the United States. Washington said it was “incredibly concerned” about relations between Moscow and Pyongyang.
China’s presence has fueled fears that the trio of thugs have formed a new horror alliance. Political experts said the alliance was a major cause for concern – and would have “huge consequences”.
As for Ukraine, in the spring Xi Jinping spoke with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for the first time since the Russian invasion. Xi praised Beijing’s relations with kyiv and said China “will continue to facilitate peace talks.”
Nonetheless, politicians on both sides of the Atlantic view China with suspicion. In the United States, Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley recently claimed that China is an “enemy” that has been “preparing for war” with the United States for “decades.”
And in the UK, Home Secretary Suella Braverman is reportedly pushing for China to be reclassified as a threat to Britain’s security and interests under new national security laws.