Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un’s agreement raises western alarm about possible Russian help for North Korea’s nuclear programme.

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, and the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, have signed a pact mandating mutual defense, intensifying western concerns about potential Russian support for North Korea’s missile or nuclear programs.

This agreement, described by Kim as an “alliance,” features a mutual defense clause that obliges each nation to assist the other if attacked. The deal, solidified after extensive talks in Pyongyang, deepens economic and military ties between the two countries and raises alarms in the West about possible Russian aid to Pyongyang’s weapons initiatives.

According to NBC News, US intelligence suggests that Russia might be providing North Korea with nuclear submarine and ballistic missile technology in exchange for military supplies for Russia’s conflict in Ukraine. This support could potentially help North Korea achieve its goal of deploying a submarine capable of launching nuclear-armed missiles.

The precise scope of Russia’s support remains unclear, but there are fears that it could extend to intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) or the short-range ballistic missiles that North Korea has reportedly supplied to Russia. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg expressed concerns about the potential support Russia could offer North Korea, especially regarding missile and nuclear programs.

US officials, including undersecretary of state Bonnie Jenkins, have indicated that North Korea is seeking advanced military technology from Russia, such as fighter aircraft and ballistic missile production equipment. Experts warn that any direct aid for North Korea’s weapons programs would mark a significant shift in Russian policy since the end of the Cold War, largely driven by Russia’s needs on the Ukrainian battlefield.

James Acton of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace notes that Russia might now view a nuclear-armed North Korea as an unavoidable reality and could be transitioning from opposing proliferation to supporting North Korea in exchange for military aid. However, direct support for North Korea’s nuclear program remains uncertain, with Russia more likely to assist in missile and submarine technology.

Alexander Gabuev, director of the Carnegie Russia Eurasia Center, emphasized the importance of potential aid for North Korea’s space and missile programs, which directly relate to nuclear delivery systems.

The exact details of the security agreement were not disclosed, but Putin affirmed that the partnership includes mutual assistance in the event of aggression. He described the pact as “defensive,” underscoring North Korea’s right to self-defense and hinting at increased military-technical cooperation.

Kim lauded the agreement as the “strongest ever treaty” between the two nations, elevating their relationship to a strategic alliance that would foster closer political, economic, and military cooperation. He claimed the pact would accelerate the creation of a “new multipolar world.”

Putin’s visit, his first to North Korea in 24 years, has been closely monitored by the US and South Korea. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken remarked that Putin’s visit underscored Russia’s desperate attempts to fortify relations with countries that could support its war in Ukraine. He also highlighted North Korea’s significant munitions support to Russia and the provision of Iranian weaponry, including drones used against civilians.

The leaders’ summit concluded with an exchange of gifts and a ceremonial drive through Pyongyang, reinforcing their strengthened ties amid global scrutiny. As the geopolitical landscape shifts, the implications of this pact will continue to reverberate, affecting international security and diplomatic relations.

(Associated Medias) – All rights reserved