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US, South Korea, Japan condemn deepening North Korea-Russia military cooperation

US, South Korea, Japan condemn deepening North Korea-Russia military cooperation Photo: Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un (Getty Images)

In a joint statement, the representatives of the United States, South Korea, and Japan condemn "in the strongest possible terms" the deepening military cooperation between North Korea and Russia, including the supply of weapons from North Korea to Russia that are being used in the war against Ukraine.

The statement emphasizes that, in addition to prolonging the suffering of the Ukrainian people, the supply of weapons from North Korea violates numerous UN Security Council resolutions and threatens stability in both Northeast Asia and Europe.

The development of the partnership between North Korea and Russia, as evidenced by the signing of a strategic partnership agreement during Russian Vladimir Putin's visit to Pyongyang on June 19, should be a serious concern for anyone interested in maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, the document's authors noted.

In it, the United States, South Korea, and Japan reaffirmed their intention to further strengthen diplomatic cooperation and security collaboration to counter the threats posed by North Korea to regional and global security.

"The US commitments to the defense of the ROK (Republic of Korea - ed.) and Japan remain ironclad. The United States, ROK, and Japan also reaffirm that the path to dialogue remains open and urge the DPRK to cease further provocations and return to negotiations," the statement reads.

Agreement with North Korea and Putin's statements

During his visit to North Korea, Putin and North Korean Kim Jong-un signed a comprehensive strategic partnership agreement, which provides for immediate mutual assistance in case of aggression against either country.

After North Korea, Putin flew to Vietnam. There he stated that he could not rule out providing North Korea with high-precision weapons in response to Western military assistance to Ukraine. The dictator is also considering the possibility of changing Russia's nuclear doctrine in response to discussions in the West about "lowering the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons."

The Institute for the Study of War considers Putin's statement a direct threat of nuclear weapon use if the West allows Ukraine to win the war. However, analysts believe it is very unlikely that this threat will lead to actual nuclear escalation.

Putin also stated that it would be "a very big mistake" for South Korea to provide lethal weapons to Ukraine. Seoul promised to consider this possibility after the agreement between North Korea and Russia was signed.