North Korean Foreign Minister's Upcoming Visit to Russia Amid Controversial Arms Transfer Allegations

Written by Jeppe W

Jan.16 - 2024 10:49 AM CET

Photo: Wiki Commons
Photo: Wiki Commons

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North Korea's Foreign Minister, Choe Son Hui, is set to visit Russia this week, as reported by state media. This visit comes amid intense global scrutiny and condemnation, particularly from Washington, over North Korea's alleged transfer of weapons to Moscow for use in the conflict in Ukraine.

This development signifies a strengthening of ties between traditional allies Russia and North Korea. In recent times, there has been a noticeable increase in diplomatic activities between the two nations. Notably, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made a rare overseas trip to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Russia’s far east in September last year. Additionally, top Russian officials, including the Defense and Foreign Ministers, visited North Korea, raising concerns among Kyiv’s allies about potential arms deals.

According to the Korean Central News Agency, Choe’s visit to Russia, scheduled from January 15 to 17, is at the invitation of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. This meeting is expected to further solidify the relationship between the two countries.

Earlier this month, the White House leveled serious accusations against North Korea, claiming the country had sent ballistic missiles and launchers to Russia, marking a “significant and concerning escalation” in support of Moscow's military operations in Ukraine. It was alleged that missiles supplied by Pyongyang, with ranges of approximately 900 kilometers, were used by Russia in attacks on Ukraine.

The increasing military and economic cooperation between Russia and North Korea has triggered alarm in Washington and Seoul. South Korea has accused Pyongyang of providing over one million artillery rounds to Moscow in exchange for military satellite technology advice. Following this, North Korea reportedly succeeded in launching a spy satellite into orbit, purportedly with Russian assistance.

In a statement from last October, the United States disclosed that North Korea had delivered over 1,000 containers of military equipment and munitions to Russia, highlighting the deepening military relationship between the two nations.

Choe Son Hui's visit to Russia is thus highly significant, not only in terms of bilateral relations but also in the context of the broader geopolitical landscape and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

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