North Korea and Russia Sign Pact Pledging Military Aid

North Korea and Russia Sign Pact Pledging Military Aid

In a move raising concerns about potential violations of United Nations sanctions, North Korea and Russia have signed a new defense agreement pledging to provide immediate military assistance if either nation faces armed aggression.

The “Treaty on Comprehensive Strategic Partnership” was signed Wednesday by Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during Putin’s visit to Pyongyang. It effectively revives a defunct mutual defense pact from the 1960s between North Korea and the former Soviet Union.

The most concerning aspect is Article 4, which states:

“If either side faces an armed invasion and is in a state of war, the other side will immediately use all available means to provide military and other assistance in accordance with Article 51 of the U.N. Charter.”

Article 51 allows for individual or collective self-defense actions by UN member states. This suggests Russia could potentially provide military aid, including weapons and personnel, to assist North Korea if it were attacked.

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Such cooperation would likely violate multiple UN Security Council resolutions prohibiting the transfer of arms, source codes and technology related to North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

The pact is the highest-profile move by Moscow to deepen military ties with North Korea in years. It comes amid growing U.S. and allied concern over Russia’s support for Pyongyang as it faces increasing isolation over its war in Ukraine.

Both Kim and Putin explicitly linked their strengthening partnership to fighting the “hegemonic and imperialist” policies of the West. They vowed to take “joint actions” to strengthen defense capabilities. The agreement prohibits either side from signing treaties infringing on the other’s interests or allowing its territory to be used to harm the other’s security.

The pact revives similarities to the 1961 mutual defense treaty between North Korea and the former Soviet Union during the Cold War era. However, the reference to following the UN Charter and domestic laws leaves ambiguity over whether it constitutes a full military alliance.

Nonetheless, the U.S., South Korea, Japan and other allies view the deepening Russia-North Korea cooperation as a concerning development that could embolden Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions and efforts to evade sanctions.

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