Kristina Kormilitsyna, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

North Korea Clinches Mutual Defense Treaty with Russia During Putin Visit

Russian strongman Vladimir Putin received a lavish welcome in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Tuesday evening, meeting with Kim Jong-un throughout Wednesday and signing a treaty that calls for their two countries to act in the event either is attacked militarily.

Putin confirmed that the “comprehensive partnership” deal “provides for mutual assistance in the event of aggression against one of the parties to this treaty,” praising the agreement as a “groundbreaking document” necessary to improve what was already a friendly relationship between Moscow and Pyongyang.

Once ironclad allies during the era of the former Soviet Union, North Korea has for decades maintained cordial relations with Russia.

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un, right, drives a Russian Aurus limousine as Russian President Vladimir Putin sits on the left during their meeting in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (Gavriil Grigorov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Kim Jong-un has prioritized the bilateral relationship, however, making a visit to Russia in September his first international travel since the onset of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic and taking a vocal stance in support of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

North Korea and the Soviet Union signed a mutual defense agreement in 1961 that the Russian Federation did not revive prior to this week.

Putin, similarly, has focused diplomatic efforts on enhancing ties with Kim. Prior to the rule of the current communist dictator, however, North Korea did little to strengthen its relationship with Russia; Putin has visited the country only once, in 2000, prior to his travels this week.

Putin arrived in North Korea after a brief stop in eastern Siberia on Tuesday. Kim Jong-un was the first to greet Putin upon his landing, a gesture of heightened respect in a nation where worshipping Kim as a god is a legal requirement.

On Wednesday, the two leaders enjoyed a friendly car ride in a Russian Aurus vehicle, the Russian news agency Tass reported, in which Putin drove Kim around the North Korean capital.

“On a two-lane road through the park, the leaders traveled several kilometers at a rather high speed,” Tass claimed. “After that, they got out of the car and walked through the park grounds, which were covered with greenery and rose bushes.”

The official newspaper of the North Korean communist regime, Rodong Sinmun, reported that Kim drove in the car with Putin to his guest home and the two “exchanged the inmost thoughts that had so far been confined to them” in the car. The propaganda outlet declared the bond between Russia and North Korea a “strong strategic fortress and an engine for defending international justice, peace and security.”

In a public ceremony decorated with large balloons and a massive portrait of Putin, Putin received the welcome of indoctrinated North Korean children in Kim Il-sung Square and rows of marching soldiers.

Following extensive talks on Wednesday, the two leaders held a highly controlled press conference to announce their mutual defense agreement.

“At this moment, as the whole world turns its eyes to Pyongyang, where a friendship mission from Russia has arrived, I stand with my Russian comrades, true friends and associates, in this solemn hall,” Kim Jong Un declared, praising the “very robust treaty” just signed and commending Putin as a “true friend.”

The communist nation’s state media repeatedly referred to Putin as a “comrade,” a communist term typically indicating ideological agreement.

The South Korean news service Yonhap observed that the full text of the treaty is not available at press time, so the terms within are not yet completely public. Putin reportedly indicated, however, that the treaty could lead to “military and technical cooperation,” increasing global concerns that North Korea is aiding the Ukraine invasion by sending Russia munitions.

In February, the U.S. State Department claimed that North Korea had shipped over 10,000 containers of munitions to Russia between September 2023 and February 2024, an indication both of a growing alliance and that Russia is struggling to keep itself stocked, given North Korea’s status as one of the world’s most destitute countries.

“Relations between our two nations rose to a new high of alliance,” Kim reportedly declared alongside Putin. “It is greatly satisfying to conclude a great treaty that befits a changed international situation and the strategic nature of new DPRK-Russia relations.”

In his remarks alongside Kim, Putin also echoed talking points favorable to Pyongyang, including a call to lift the strict sanctions regime imposed on North Korea in response to its illegal nuclear weapons development and its decades-long history of committing human rights atrocities against its people on a routine basis.

“I would like to note that the indefinite restrictive regime of the UN Security Council against North Korea, inspired by the United States and its allies, must be revised,” Putin declared, according to Tass.

“We will continue to oppose the practice of sanctions strangulation as a tool that the West is accustomed to using to maintain its hegemony in politics, economy and other spheres.”

A TV screen shows an image of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, and Russian President Vladimir Putin during a news program, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

Putin’s government supported the current United Nations Security Council sanctions on North Korea, imposed in 2017 in response to its last nuclear bomb test.

Putin nonetheless also appeared to support North Korea’s illicit nuclear development on Wednesday, stating, “North Korea has the right to take reasonable measures to strengthen its own defense capabilities, ensure national security and protect its sovereignty.”

According to an annual assessment published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), a Swedish think tank, North Korea added 20 nuclear bombs to its arsenal in 2023, though it has not tested a bomb since 2017 prior to the U.N. sanctions.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Amnesty Joe Biden Gives His Podium to Illegal Migrant

Harris Pushes Gun Control in Atlanta Event