Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have cemented a new partnership, pledging mutual assistance if either nation is attacked. This development comes during a Wednesday summit as both countries face increased tensions with the West.

In response, South Korea announced on Thursday its consideration of sending arms to Ukraine. This potential policy shift follows the unveiling of the Russia-North Korea agreement, which experts suggest could signify the strongest bond between Moscow and Pyongyang since the Cold War. The agreement mandates immediate military and other support in case of invasion, within the constraints of both nations’ laws and Article 51 of the UN Charter.

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The summit in Pyongyang saw Putin and Kim endorse the pact, which they hailed as a significant enhancement of their bilateral relations, encompassing security, trade, investment, and cultural exchanges. South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol condemned the agreement, highlighting its threat to regional security and violation of UN Security Council resolutions. Yoon’s national security adviser, Chang Ho-jin, suggested that Seoul might reconsider its stance on providing arms to Ukraine to bolster its defense against Russian aggression. Posts to X allegedly show multiple pictures and videos of the shocking visit:

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The summit occurred amidst concerns from the U.S. and its allies about potential arms deals where North Korea could supply Russia with much-needed munitions in exchange for economic aid and technology, potentially bolstering North Korea’s nuclear capabilities. Kim referred to the partnership as their “strongest-ever treaty,” expressing full support for Russia’s war in Ukraine. Putin described the agreement as a “breakthrough document” reflecting mutual aspirations to elevate their relationship.

Historically, North Korea and the Soviet Union had a treaty requiring Moscow’s military intervention if North Korea was attacked, which was dissolved after the Soviet Union’s collapse. The new pact appears more symbolic than substantive, with analysts debating its actual security commitment. Nevertheless, it signifies a clear intent to expand cooperation.

Putin’s visit to North Korea, his first in 24 years, was marked by grand displays of camaraderie, including multiple hugs with Kim, a motorcade through Pyongyang, and a large welcoming ceremony. The agreement stipulates that both nations avoid entering agreements that harm each other’s core interests and collaborate to strengthen defense capabilities, aiming for a “just and multipolar new world order.”

 

The implications for South Korea’s relationship with Russia are significant, with experts noting the potential for deteriorating diplomatic ties. South Korea has already joined sanctions against Russia, and this new alliance could further strain relations.

Kim’s recent foreign policy efforts have focused on aligning with countries opposing the U.S., promoting a “new Cold War” stance, and showing solidarity with Putin’s broader conflicts with the West. The Korean Peninsula remains tense, with increased military activities and psychological warfare tactics from both North and South Korea.