N Korea, Russia sign defence deal

Kim pledges support to Putin on Ukraine

Afp June 20, 2024
- Reuters


Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a mutual defence agreement on Wednesday with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, who offered his “full support” on Ukraine.

The pledge of military cooperation was part of a strategic treaty signed during a summit in Pyongyang, where Putin was making his first visit in 24 years.

“It is really a breakthrough document,” Putin said at a news conference in the North Korean capital, adding that it provided, “among other things, for mutual assistance in case of aggression against one of the parties to this treaty”, Russian news agencies said.

The two countries have been allies since North Korea’s founding after World War II and have drawn even closer since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022 isolated Putin on the global stage.

The United States and its allies have accused North Korea of providing ammunition and missiles to Russia for its war in Ukraine, and the treaty was certain to fuel concerns of more deliveries.

Putin also said Russia “does not rule out military-technical cooperation with the DPRK in connection with the treaty that was signed today”, referring to North Korea by its official name.

Kim called Putin the “dearest friend of the Korean people” and said his country “expresses full support and solidarity to the Russian government” over the war in Ukraine, which has triggered rafts of UN sanctions on Moscow.

Putin, in turn, thanked his host Kim -- whose country has been under a UN sanctions regime since 2006 over his banned weapons programmes -- saying Moscow appreciated the “consistent and unwavering” support.

Putin said the two heavily sanctioned countries would not tolerate Western “blackmail” and called for a review of UN sanctions on North Korea.

“The indefinite restrictive regime inspired by the US and its allies at the UN Security Council towards the DPRK should be reviewed,” Putin said.

Putin also said Moscow and Pyongyang were fighting “US hegemony” together and commended the North for its “balanced position” on Ukraine.

“Today, we are fighting together against the hegemonism and neo-colonial practices of the United States and its satellites,” he said.

Putin arrived in Pyongyang before dawn on Wednesday and was greeted by Kim on a red carpet at the airport, where the pair embraced and smiled.

They then attended a welcoming ceremony in Kim Il Sung Square, featuring a military band and mass synchronised dancing, after which Putin invited his host to visit Moscow. Putin gifted Kim a luxury car by Russian carmaker Aurus, and took him for a drive, according to state-run RIA Novosti news agency.



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