Kim and Putin Sign Defense Pact: North Korea to Receive Immediate Military Aid in War

North Korean state media announced that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin have signed a comprehensive strategic partnership agreement, ensuring immediate military assistance between the two nations in the event of war. The Korean Central News Agency reported that Article 4 of the agreement requires each country to deploy “all means at its disposal without delay” to provide military and other assistance if the other is invaded and enters a state of war.

This agreement marks the strongest alliance between Moscow and Pyongyang since the end of the Cold War. It encompasses various aspects including security, trade, investment, cultural, and humanitarian ties, significantly enhancing their bilateral relations. The summit between Kim and Putin has heightened concerns among the US and its allies, who fear a potential arms arrangement between North Korea and Russia. There is speculation that North Korea may supply munitions to Russia for its war in Ukraine in return for economic aid and technology transfers, which could escalate the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile programs.

Kim Jong Un described the agreement as their “strongest-ever treaty” and affirmed full support for Russia’s war in Ukraine, calling the relationship a “fiery friendship.” Putin labeled the agreement a “breakthrough document,” reflecting their mutual desire to elevate their relationship. Historically, North Korea and the former Soviet Union had a 1961 treaty that obligated Moscow to militarily intervene if North Korea was attacked. This was replaced in 2000 with a treaty offering weaker security assurances. South Korean officials are analyzing the new agreement to determine if it provides protection similar to the 1961 treaty.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula remain high due to North Korea’s ongoing weapons tests and the combined military exercises involving the US, South Korea, and Japan. Additionally, psychological warfare tactics reminiscent of the Cold War, such as North Korea using balloons to drop trash on South Korea and the South broadcasting anti-North Korean propaganda via loudspeakers, have intensified the situation.

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