Observers say Kim could ship ammunition to refill Putin’s exhausted arms stores to back his war efforts in Ukraine in return for receiving sophisticated weapons technologies and economic aid.
The US, South Korea and their partners have warned that Russia and North Korea would pay a price if they proceed with such deals in breach of UN Security Council resolutions that ban any weapons trade with North Korea. Russia, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, voted for those UN resolutions.
Speaking before the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, South Korean President Yoon Suk-Yeol said any action by a permanent UN Security Council member to circumvent international norms would be dangerous and “paradoxical”. Yoon said that South Korea, together with its allies, “will not sit idly by” over a possible Pyongyang-Moscow weapons deal that he said would pose a threat to not only Ukraine but also South Korea.
Many experts say North Korea would seek Russian help to complete the development of high-tech weapons systems such as spy satellites, nuclear-powered submarines and powerful long-range missiles. They say Kim wants to modernise his weapons arsenals to wrest greater concessions from the US and South Korea.