South Korea’s top intelligence agency has raised concerns about North Korea’s possible involvement in aiding Russia’s war on Ukraine.
According to a South Korean lawmaker who attended a closed-door briefing with intelligence officials, North Korea has allegedly sent over a million artillery shells to Russia since August.
The aim is to bolster Russia’s military capabilities in its ongoing conflict in Ukraine, a move that has raised international eyebrows.
The blossoming partnership between North Korea and Russia has become increasingly visible as both countries find themselves in separate confrontations with the United States.
Diplomatic Tensions Over North Korea’s Alleged Arms Shipment to Russia
Diplomatic efforts have included a summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin in September, fueling speculation about a potential arms agreement.
North Korea is rumored to be supplying Russia with much-needed munitions in exchange for advanced Russian technologies that could enhance North Korea’s nuclear-armed military.
Despite the claims from the US.and South Korea, both North Korea and Russia have denied any transfer of arms supplies from the North to Russia.
The South Korean National Intelligence Service believes that since early August, North Korea has dispatched more than a million artillery shells to Russia via ships and other transport methods, providing approximately two months’ worth of munitions for the Russian military.
The South Korean agency also suspects that North Korea has been operating its munitions factories at total capacity to meet Russian demands.
There are indications that North Korea sent weapons experts to Russia in October to advise Russian officials on using the weapons effectively.
While concerns have been raised about sensitive Russian technologies potentially enhancing North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, the South Korean National Intelligence Service suggests that Russian assistance may be limited to conventional capabilities, such as improving North Korea’s aging fighter aircraft fleets.
Moreover, North Korea is receiving Russian technological support to launch its first military reconnaissance satellite.
The NIS believes that North Korea is in the final preparations for a third launch, which is expected to be successful.
Kim Jong Un has emphasized the importance of space-based reconnaissance capabilities for monitoring U.S. and South Korean military activities and strengthening North Korea’s missile threat.
However, it is worth noting that United Nations Security Council resolutions prohibit North Korean satellite launches due to concerns that they serve as a cover for testing long-range ballistic missile technologies.
The allegations of North Korea’s arms transfer to Russia have drawn strong condemnation from the United States, South Korea, and Japan.
They argue that such weapon shipments exacerbate the human toll of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov of Russia previously denied receiving munitions from North Korea during a visit to Pyongyang.
The White House, on the other hand, claimed that North Korea had delivered more than 1,000 containers of military equipment and munitions to Russia, presenting images as evidence of the transfer.
Source: AP News