A stern message from the White House has been delivered to North Korea, cautioning that the country will face severe consequences if it proceeds with a potential arms deal with Russia for use in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan asserted that North Korea would “pay a price” if it indeed sells weapons to Russia, as Washington believes that negotiations between the two nations are actively progressing.
Sullivan made it abundantly clear that such an act would not be viewed favorably on the international stage, given Russia’s military involvement in Ukraine, particularly its use of weaponry against critical infrastructure and civilian facilities.
The comments come in the wake of previous assertions by a US administration official that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is expected to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. However, the Kremlin has remained tight-lipped about the reported talks.
Russia’s search for alternative sources of weaponry to support its actions in Ukraine has intensified due to the effectiveness of US sanctions and export controls, which have made it challenging for Moscow to secure arms through conventional channels.
US Department of State spokesperson Vedant Patel stressed that the effectiveness of US sanctions had pushed Russia to explore unconventional avenues for weapons procurement, potentially including North Korea. While specific consequences for Pyongyang were not disclosed, Patel stated that the US would take “appropriate steps as necessary” in coordination with its allies if weapons transactions were confirmed.
North Korea has faced previous allegations of covertly shipping artillery shells to Russia, an accusation vehemently denied by both Moscow and Pyongyang.
Sullivan emphasized that the Biden administration remains committed to dissuading North Korea from providing arms to Russia, calling upon the nation to adhere to its public commitments and refrain from supplying weapons that could harm Ukrainians.
Amid these developments, it appears that Russia and North Korea are growing closer in their relations, seeking to strengthen ties as both nations face Western pressure and sanctions. Speculation exists regarding a possible meeting between Putin and Kim next week during Putin’s visit to Vladivostok, Russia, for an economic forum.
As the United States and its allies continue to caution nations against assisting Russia in its military offensive in Ukraine, the international community watches closely, while Ukraine strives to repel Russian advances and bring an end to the ongoing conflict.