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N. Korea considering providing military support to Russia: NSC

By Yonhap

Published : Aug. 4, 2023 - 09:34

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (left) shakes hands with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu during their meeting at the headquarters of the Workers' Party of Korea's Central Committee in Pyongyang on July 26. (KCNA) North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (left) shakes hands with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu during their meeting at the headquarters of the Workers' Party of Korea's Central Committee in Pyongyang on July 26. (KCNA)

WASHINGTON -- North Korea is considering providing additional military support to Russia, including munitions to be used in the latter's ongoing war in Ukraine, a National Security Council official said Thursday.

John Kirby, NSC coordinator for strategic communications, said the US will continue to expose and sanction efforts to assist Russia's illegal war against Ukraine.

"Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu recently traveled to North Korea in a bid to convince North Korea to sell munitions to Russia to support Russia's war," he told a telephonic press briefing.

North Korea reported last week that the Russian defense minister visited Pyongyang to take part in events marking the 70th anniversary of the Korean War armistice, celebrated in the country as Victory Day.

"Our information indicates that Russia is seeking to increase military cooperation to the DPRK such as through DPRK sale of artillery munitions, again to Russia," added Kirby, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

His remark follows a Financial Times report that Ukrainian troops have been using North Korean rockets seized from a ship believed to have been headed to Russia, indicating North Korea's continued provision of military support to Russia.

"Any arms deal between North Korea and Russia would, of course, directly violate a series of UN Security Council resolutions," Kirby told the press briefing.

"And we are going to continue to identify, expose and counter Russian efforts to acquire ammunition from North Korea or quite frankly any other state that might be prepared to support its war in Ukraine," he added, noting the US had imposed sanctions on an individual involved in Russia-North Korea arms trade in March.

The NSC official also insisted that Russia's outreach to North Korea for ammunition reflected the dire condition Moscow and Russian President Vladimir Putin are in.

"I think this is yet another example of how desperate Mr. Putin has become because his war machine is being affected by the sanctions," said Kirby.

"He (Putin) is going through a vast amount of inventory to try to subjugate Ukraine and he's reaching out to countries like North Korea, like Iran, and certainly he's been trying to reach out to China to get support for his war machine." (Yonhap)