NewsPutin and Kim Jong-Un form military pact amid rising tensions

Putin and Kim Jong-Un form military pact amid rising tensions

Agreement between Russia and Korea. What about the war in Ukraine?
Agreement between Russia and Korea. What about the war in Ukraine?
Images source: © PAP | PAP/EPA/KCNA
Jakub Artych

21 June 2024 16:46

Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un have signed an agreement on a "comprehensive partnership," which includes military cooperation. Will North Korea join the war with Ukraine? Meduza decided to explore this question.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) published the full text of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Agreement, which Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un signed on 19 June.

This occurred during the first visit by a Russian president to North Korea since 2000. During Putin's previous official visit to the DPRK, Moscow and Pyongyang signed a Treaty of Friendship, Good-Neighborliness, and Cooperation.

What does this agreement entail? According to the independent portal Meduza, the agreement includes declarations of willingness to support each other and actual deliveries of hundreds of thousands or even millions of missiles for attacks on Ukraine.

In the event of the threat of armed aggression, the countries agreed to assist each other and coordinate actions; in the case of an armed attack on one of the parties, the other shall promptly provide 'all means of military assistance' - Russian journalists found out.

As noted by the South Korean agency Yonhap, the article concerning military assistance in the new treaty almost verbatim repeats the wording from the first article of the "Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance" concluded between the DPRK and the USSR in 1961. Only some details in the text have changed.

Will North Korea join the war?

It is not entirely clear whether the agreement with the DPRK means that Pyongyang is ready to openly join the war on the side of the Russian Federation, and whether this is even possible.

Firstly, the condition for assisting in the treaty is an attack by one or more states on the ally. And in the case of Ukraine, it was Russia that attacked, although the Russian authorities are trying to turn the situation upside down.

Secondly, the ally must be "in a state of war". Russia formally still claims it is not at war but conducting something else, a "special military operation".

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