Russia advocates new strategy for North Korea: Criticizes U.S. 'strangling' tactics

On Friday, Russia urged major powers to adopt a fresh strategy towards North Korea, criticizing the United States and its allies for escalating military tensions in Asia and attempting to "strangle" the isolated nation.

Publication: 29.03.2024 - 15:54
Russia advocates new strategy for North Korea: Criticizes U.S. 'strangling' tactics
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This statement came as Russia vetoed the annual renewal of a United Nations panel of experts tasked with monitoring the enforcement of long-standing sanctions against North Korea for its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

The veto undermines the array of UN sanctions initiated following Pyongyang's first nuclear test in 2006, highlighting the strategic gains for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in strengthening ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, especially against the backdrop of the conflict in Ukraine. "The UN Security Council can no longer rely on outdated methods for addressing issues on the Korean Peninsula," stated Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Zakharova accused the United States of fuelling military tensions and argued that international sanctions have failed to enhance security while inflicting significant humanitarian suffering on North Korea's populace, officially known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). "The United States and its allies have made it clear that they are focused solely on suffocating the DPRK by any means necessary, without any intention of seeking a peaceful resolution," she remarked.

This Russian veto marks a significant shift in the international sanctions framework against North Korea, initially established in 1948 with support from the then-Soviet Union, while the Republic of Korea received backing from the United States. North Korea remains the only country to have conducted nuclear tests in the 21st century, as noted by the United Nations, with tests in 2006, 2009, 2013, twice in 2016, and 2017.

Russia criticized the UN Security Council Committee 1718's Group of Experts for losing their objectivity and impartiality, transforming into an instrument for the DPRK's geopolitical rivals. "The group has devolved into a compliant tool of the DPRK's adversaries. Maintaining it in this form is pointless," Zakharova expressed.

The veto reflects the extent to which the war in Ukraine, igniting the most severe crisis in Russia-West relations since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, has disrupted collaboration among major powers on global issues. Since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Putin in 2022, Russia has flaunted a rejuvenation of its relationship with Pyongyang, including military aspects.

The United States alleges North Korea has supplied missiles to Russia for use against Ukraine, claims both the Kremlin and Pyongyang have dismissed. For Putin, engaging with Kim offers an opportunity to challenge Washington and its Asian allies while securing artillery supplies for the conflict in Ukraine. For Kim, who aims to boost his nuclear arsenal to counter perceived U.S. provocations, Russia emerges as a powerful ally with extensive missile, military, space, and nuclear technology.

Russia proposed a compromise for a time-bound review of sanctions, which, according to Zakharova, met with "hostility" from Washington. "We urge concerned parties to avoid escalatory actions and seek detente, considering established security priorities," Zakharova concluded.

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