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EDITORIAL | Where's the UN as Russia Deals with North Korea for Ammunition?

United Nations Security Council resolutions forbid transactions with North Korea involving arms or military technology. Russia is brazenly violating all these.



Russian President Vladimir Putin meets North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui in Moscow, Russia, January 16, 2024. (©Sputnik/Artem Geodakyan/Pool via REUTERS)

Ballistic missiles and artillery shells provided by North Korea to Russia are killing and injuring innocent Ukrainians every day.

The international community should employ every means possible to stop this illegal and inhumane military cooperation between Moscow and Pyongyang. 

On January 16, during a three-day official visit to Russia, North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui met with Russian President Vladimir Putin

Concerning their meeting, a Russian presidential spokesperson said, "North Korea is an important partner for us, and we aim to develop our relationship in all areas, including sensitive areas."

Without a doubt, Putin and Choe discussed greater military cooperation. They may also have sought to lay the groundwork for a Putin visit to North Korea. 

Russia has rapidly deepened relations with North Korea in response to the backlash to its invasion of Ukraine.

A representative from the prosecutor's office shows parts of an unidentified missile, which Ukrainian authorities believe to be made in North Korea and was used in a strike in Kharkiv. January 6, 2024. (©REUTERS/Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy)

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In September 2023, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met with Putin at a space center in the Russian Far East, and the two men reached a "satisfactory agreement on important issues and matters of cooperation." Kim also toured a factory manufacturing fighter jets.

Russia is seeking to obtain weapons and ammunition that are in short supply to better wage its war of aggression, while North Korea is eager to obtain cutting-edge technology related to missiles, fighter jets, and reconnaissance satellites.


According to an American analysis, North Korea provided Russia with the equivalent of more than 1,000 containers worth of ammunition and other items between September and October of 2023. It has also been confirmed that these were employed in large-scale aerial assaults on Ukraine from the end of 2023 through the beginning of 2024. 

United Nations Security Council resolutions expressly forbid transactions with North Korea involving arms or military technology. The actions of Russia and North Korea are clearly in violation of these resolutions. 

Democratic Solidarity

We must take seriously the possibility that if North Korea obtains advanced military technology from Russia, Japan's security will be further threatened. Russia has also deployed a great many Iranian-made attack drones in its invasion of Ukraine. As Moscow deepens its military cooperation with North Korea and Iran, the Security Council, where Russia and China have veto power, has become dysfunctional. 

Faced with this reality, the only viable option is to strengthen solidarity among the ranks of democracies, including Japan, the United States, and South Korea. Together, we must enhance deterrence while strengthening and expanding sanctions on rogue nations like Russia and North Korea. We definitely must not allow forces that lawlessly collude to go unchecked. 

Moreover, we must strengthen our resolve to support Ukraine. Since collusion among dictatorships like Russia, North Korea, and Iran has come to transcend a particular region, free and democratic countries also need to act accordingly.


(Read the editorial in Japanese.)

Author: Editorial Board, The Sankei Shimbun

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