WASHINGTON, Sept. 20 (Korea Bizwire) — The United States is trying to stop North Korea’s potential arms support to Russia “wherever we can,” its top diplomat said Wednesday, as last week’s summit between the two isolated regimes deepened concerns about their military cooperation.
Speaking in an interview with broadcaster NBC, Secretary of State Antony Blinken also said that the summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to a “certain amount of desperation” on the part of Russia amid the protracted war in Ukraine.
“We are looking and taking action to try to disrupt that to break that up wherever we can,” Blinken said. “But Russia is in a world of hurt as a result of the actions that Vladimir Putin has taken militarily, economically and diplomatically.”
The rare summit between Kim and Putin came amid speculation that Kim wants military technology cooperation from Russia to build spy satellites and other weapons, while Putin seeks more ammunition from the North for use in Ukraine.
Blinken said that Russia is in a “much worse” position than it was before due to its invasion of Ukraine, as he pointed out the absence of the Russian president at international leader-level gatherings, namely the ongoing U.N. General Assembly in New York.
“He is in fact persona non grata in many parts of the world,” Blinken said of Putin. “So, the only thing they have left is to go to regimes like the ones in North Korea and Iran to try to get what they need.”
Seoul and Washington have warned that a potential arms deal between Pyongyang and Moscow would be in violation of U.N. Security Council (UNSC) resolutions that Russia itself voted for.
Meanwhile, Blinken referred to the North Korean leader as a “dictator” while mentioning the summit between Kim and Putin during an open UNSC ministerial meeting on Ukraine on Wednesday.
“Russia hosted North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un,” he was quoted as saying in a transcript on the State Department’s website. “Putin said that they discussed ways to cooperate militarily.”
DPRK stands for the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
He also reiterated that the transfer of arms between Russia and the North would run afoul of UNSC resolutions.
“It’s hard to imagine a country demonstrating more contempt for the United Nations and all that it stands for — this from a country with a permanent seat on this council,” he said.