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Russia-DPRK agreement shows rapprochement between authoritarian countries - NATO Secretary General

Russia-DPRK agreement shows rapprochement between authoritarian countries - NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General (Getty Images)
Author: Maria Kholina

A new military pact between Russia and North Korea demonstrates growing alignment among authoritarian states and underscores the importance of democracies presenting a united front, according to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an agreement with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, which included commitments to mutual defense, marking a significant shift in Moscow's policy towards Pyongyang.

Stoltenberg said that North Korea has provided Russia with "an enormous amount of ammunition," while China and Iran have supported Moscow militarily in its war against Ukraine.

"We need to be aware that authoritarian powers are aligning more and more. They are supporting each other in a way we haven't seen before," he said during a panel discussion on an official visit to Ottawa.

"When they are more and more aligned - authoritarian regimes like North Korea and China, Iran, Russia - then it's even more important that we are aligned as countries believing in freedom and democracy," he said.

The increasing closeness between Russia and other Asian countries means it's even more critical for NATO to work with allies in the Asia-Pacific region, he added, mentioning that this is why leaders from Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea have been invited to the NATO Summit in Washington next month.

NATO defense spending

Stoltenberg also expressed his expectation that Canada will meet NATO's goal of spending 2% of its gross domestic product on defense.

Canada's Liberal government, which has invested billions in social programs, currently spends only 1.37% of its GDP on the military. In April, it published a plan to reach 1.76% by 2030.

Other NATO members "are concerned about the fiscal balance, they want to spend money on health (and) education," he said, adding that "if we're not able to preserve peace, then what we do on health and climate change and education ... will fail".

Vladimir Putin and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un signed a strategic partnership agreement, which includes provisions for mutual military assistance.

The White House remarked that Moscow is continuing to build a coalition against the democratic world.