US warns North Korea will "pay a price" over giving Russia weapons for Ukraine

Washington DC – The White House warned Tuesday that North Korea would "pay a price" if it supplies Russia with weaponry for its war in Ukraine, with Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin expected to hold talks on the issue.

The US has warned North Korea would "pay a price" if it supplies Russia with arms amid its invasion of Ukraine.
The US has warned North Korea would "pay a price" if it supplies Russia with arms amid its invasion of Ukraine.  © IMAGO/agefotostock (TAG24 edit)

Sanctions-hit Russia is reportedly eager to secure more military supplies from its ally North Korea to bolster its forces, as Kyiv pushes a highly scrutinized counteroffensive to take back its territory.

President Joe Biden's national security advisor Jake Sullivan said Pyongyang and Moscow were eyeing "leader level discussions, perhaps even in person" on Russia's arms needs.

Sullivan said Russia could use weapons from North Korea to attack food supplies and heating infrastructure heading into winter to "try to conquer territory that belongs to another sovereign nation."

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"This is not going to reflect well on North Korea and they will pay a price for this in the international community," he added.

Sullivan added that it "says a lot that Russia is having to turn to a country like North Korea."

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu traveled to North Korea in July seeking to acquire additional munitions for the war, the White House said. North Korea has previously pledged full support to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The Kremlin said on Tuesday it was unable to confirm a summit between Putin and Kim. "We have nothing to say on this," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Shoigu said on Monday that Russia was considering joint military drills with North Korea. "Why not? They are our neighbors," he was quoted as saying by the TASS news agency.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin (r.) and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un during their meeting in Vladivostok, Russia, in 2019.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (r.) and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un during their meeting in Vladivostok, Russia, in 2019.  © REUTERS

The United States warned last week that Russia was already in secret talks with the North to acquire a range of munitions and supplies for Moscow's war effort.

Kim is likely to head by armored train later this month to Vladivostok, on Russia's Pacific coast not far from North Korea, to meet Putin, US and other officials told the New York Times.

Vladivostok is hosting the Eastern Economic Forum from September 10–13, which was attended by representatives from 68 countries last year.

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According to the Times, Putin is seeking artillery shells and antitank missiles from North Korea, while Kim, who could even travel to Moscow, is reportedly in search of advanced technology for satellites and nuclear-powered submarines, as well as food aid for his impoverished nation.

An official at Seoul's unification ministry, which handles inter-Korean relations, said various developments indicated the growing possibility of an arms deal between Pyongyang and Moscow.

"Any form of cooperation between North Korea and neighboring countries must be conducted in a way that does not undermine international norms and peace," he told reporters.

Washington said last week that, despite its denials, North Korea supplied infantry rockets and missiles to Russia in 2022 for use by the privately controlled Wagner military group.

Last week at the United Nations, the United States, Britain, South Korea, and Japan said that any deal to increase cooperation between Russia and North Korea would violate Security Council resolutions forbidding arms deals with Pyongyang – resolutions Moscow itself had endorsed.

The United States last month sanctioned three entities accused of seeking to facilitate arms deals between North Korea and Russia as Washington tightened restrictions on support for Moscow's war in Ukraine.

Cover photo: IMAGO/agefotostock (TAG24 edit)

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