Not Defence Alliance But Weapon Production To Get A Boost With New Russia, N Korea Pact - Vibes Of India

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Not Defence Alliance But Weapon Production To Get A Boost With New Russia, N Korea Pact

| Updated: June 24, 2024 17:33

Russia recently signed a landmark pact with North Korea for “immediate military assistance if either faces armed aggression”.

After World War II, the erstwhile Soviet Union wanted the installation of a communist regime in Korea, and offered significant military assistance to North Korea founder Kim Il Sung during the Korean War. After hostilities ended, the USSR, along with China, provided significant military and other aid to the communist North.

The two nations solidified their alliance in 1961, with the signing of the Russo-North Korea Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance, which like the latest pact contained a mutual defence agreement. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, this treaty was voided and relations temporarily deteriorated.

Since the early 2000s, however, Putin-ruled Russia has gotten closer to the Kim-family ruled North Korea regime. That being said, Russia still did not back North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, and for a time, even supported sanctions against the country aimed at curbing Pyongyang’s nuclear capabilities.

Things changed for good in 2022, as Russia invaded Ukraine and Putin found himself increasingly isolated, internationally. Today, the world is as divided as it has been since the end of the Cold War, Russia and North Korea stand together against the Western liberal order, based on highly pragmatic considerations.

The pact between Russia and North Korea talks about cooperation on a wide range of issues, including mutual military support, and unspecified technological assistance. Crucial is the mutual defence provisions.

“In case any one of the two sides is put in a state of war by an armed invasion from an individual state or several states, the other side shall provide military and other assistance with all means in its possession without delay in accordance with Article 51 of the UN Charter and the laws of the DPRK [North Korea] and the Russian Federation,” Article 4 of the agreement says.

Because neither country is likely to be attacked by an aggressor, the mutual defense provision is unlikely to be invoked… The more likely consequence of the treaty is simply closer cooperation in weapons production, with North Korea manufacturing more munitions for Russia and Russia providing more high-end help for North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes.

Currently, North Korea is believed to possess nuclear weapons but lacks critical missile guidance systems, cutting-edge warhead design, and re-entry vehicle technology, precluding its development of advanced, long-range nuclear weapons.

For South Korea and Japan, this treaty is likely to be perceived as a direct security threat. Both countries have long been concerned about North Korea’s nuclear programme, and military strength. The Russian security umbrella will only add to these concerns.

This is likely to push both countries to strengthen their defences and rethink their security policies. Japan has already moved away from its long-standing pacifist foreign policy, and is in the process of building its military might. South Korea convened an emergency meeting of its national security council in response, and said it will now consider sending arms to Ukraine, something which it had thus far resisted.

Both South Korea and Japan are likely going to further cement their alliance with the United States, in response.

The US has already reaffirmed its commitment to its allies.

The Russia-North Korea pact could also encourage similar partnerships, elsewhere, most notably with Iran. For the West, these will continue to pose a major threat.

China, a traditional ally to North Korea, is likely to be conflicted about the development. While the treaty strengthens the anti-West bulwark in Asia, China would be wary of Russia’s growing military collaboration with North Korea, which could undermine its near-exclusive geopolitical influence over Pyongyang. It would also be concerned about a greater Western footprint in Asia, as a result of this development.

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