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Russia, North Korea Sign Pact To Provide Military Help To Each Other If Attacked

North Korea and Russia revived their 1961 mutual defence pact, signing an agreement for military assistance in case of attack.

North Korea and Russia have signed an agreement to provide immediate military assistance to each other in the event of armed aggression. The pact, signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, marks Putin’s first visit to North Korea in 24 years and is being seen as a revival of a mutual defense agreement originally established under a 1961 treaty between the Cold War allies.

The new agreement for a “comprehensive strategic partnership” is considered one of the most high-profile moves by Moscow in Asia in recent years. Article 4 of the pact stipulates that if either country faces an armed invasion and enters a state of war, the other will use all available means to provide military and other assistance. This provision is in accordance with Article 51 of the U.N. Charter, which allows for individual or collective self-defense actions by member states.

This pledge comes at a time when both countries are facing increasing international isolation. The United States and its Asian allies have expressed growing concern over the extent of Russia’s support for North Korea, which remains the only country to have tested a nuclear weapon in the 21st century.

During the signing, Kim Jong Un echoed Putin’s statements, linking their strengthened ties to a mutual opposition to the “hegemonic and imperialist” policies of the West, particularly those of the United States, including its support for Ukraine.

The agreement also includes a clause that neither country will sign treaties with third countries that could harm the interests of the other, and they will not allow their territories to be used to compromise the other’s security and sovereignty. Additionally, the pact states that both nations will undertake joint actions to strengthen defense capabilities and ensure regional and international peace and security.

Reactions to the agreement have been varied. Japan has expressed “grave concerns” regarding Putin’s openness to military cooperation with Pyongyang. South Korea and the White House have not yet commented on the specifics of the agreement. Meanwhile, China’s response, despite being North Korea’s main political and economic ally, has been muted.

Washington and Seoul are particularly alarmed by the deepening military cooperation between Russia and North Korea. They have accused the two nations of violating international laws by trading arms, reportedly for use in Russia’s war against Ukraine. Ukrainian officials have claimed to have found North Korean missile debris within their country, though both Russia and North Korea deny any arms trade.

Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak has criticized Russia, a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, for undermining sanctions designed to curb North Korea’s weapons development. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated that the agreement is indicative of a growing alignment among authoritarian powers.

During his visit to Pyongyang, Putin thanked Kim for North Korea’s support of Russian policies, with Kim reaffirming his “unconditional” and unwavering support for all of Russia’s actions, including the war in Ukraine.

The full text of the agreement, released by North Korea’s state news agency KCNA, also outlines cooperation in areas such as nuclear energy, space exploration, and food and energy security. According to Cha Du Hyeogn, a former South Korean government official and fellow at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul, the mutual defense pledge closely mirrors the 1961 treaty between North Korea and the Soviet Union. However, the reference to the U.N. Charter and each country’s laws leaves room for interpretation, suggesting that while Kim is fully committed to the agreement, Putin may be exercising some caution.

This renewed alliance between North Korea and Russia adds a new dimension to the strategic calculations in the region, potentially altering the balance of power and increasing tensions among global powers.

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