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    Thursday, July 18, 2024

    N. Korea says deal between Putin, Kim requires immediate military assistance in event of war

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un exchange documents during a signing ceremony of the new partnership in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Wednesday, June 19, 2024. Putin and Kim signed a new partnership that includes a vow of mutual aid if either country is attacked, during a Wednesday summit that came as both face escalating standoffs with the West. (Kristina Kormilitsyna, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

    Seoul, South Korea — The new agreement between Russia and North Korea reached by their leaders at a Pyongyang summit requires both countries to use all available means to provide immediate military assistance in the event of war, North Korean state media said Thursday.

    Both North Korea's Kim Jong Un and Russia's Vladimir Putin had described the deal reached Wednesday as a major upgrade of bilateral relations, covering security, trade, investment, cultural and humanitarian ties. Outside observers said it could mark the strongest connection between Moscow and Pyongyang since the end of the Cold War.

    The North’s official Korean Central News Agency on Thursday reported the language of the comprehensive strategic partnership agreement. The agency said Article 4 of the agreement states that if one of the countries gets invaded and is pushed into a state of war, the other must deploy “all means at its disposal without delay” to provide “military and other assistance.”

    The summit between Kim and Putin came as the U.S. and its allies expressed growing concern over a possible arms arrangement in which Pyongyang provides Moscow with badly needed munitions for its war in Ukraine, in exchange for economic assistance and technology transfers that could enhance the threat posed by Kim’s nuclear weapons and missile program.

    Following their summit, Kim said the two countries had a “fiery friendship,” and that the deal was their “strongest-ever treaty,” putting the relationship at the level of an alliance. He vowed full support for Russia’s war in Ukraine. Putin called it a “breakthrough document” reflecting shared desires to move relations to a higher level.

    North Korea and the former Soviet Union signed a treaty in 1961, which experts say necessitated Moscow’s military intervention if the North came under attack. The deal was discarded after the collapse of the USSR, replaced by one in 2000 that offered weaker security assurances.

    Following the Kim-Putin meeting, South Korean officials said they were still interpreting the results of the summit, including what Russia’s response might be if the North comes under attack, and whether the new deal promises a similar level of protection with the 1961 treaty. South Korean officials didn’t immediately comment on the North Korean report about the details of the deal as of Thursday morning.

    “As of now, there is nothing specific we can tell you,” Lee Kyung-ho, a spokesperson at Seoul’s Defense Ministry, said when asked during a briefing whether it assesses that Russia has committed to an automatic military invention on behalf of the North in war situations.

    The deal was made as Putin visited North Korea for the first time in 24 years, a visit that showcased their personal and geopolitical ties with Kim hugging Putin twice at the airport, their motorcade rolling past giant Russian flags and Putin portraits, and a welcoming ceremony at Pyongyang’s main square attended by what appeared to be tens of thousands of spectators.

    According to KCNA, the agreement also states that Pyongyang and Moscow must not enter into agreements with third parties if they infringe on the “core interests” of another and must not participate in actions that threaten those interests.

    KCNA said the agreements require the countries to take steps to prepare joint measures for the purpose of strengthening their defense capabilities to prevent war and protect regional and global peace and security. The agency didn’t specify what those steps are, or whether they would include combined military training and other cooperation.

    The agreement also calls for the countries to actively cooperate in efforts to establish a “just and multipolar new world order,” KCNA said, underscoring how the countries are aligning in face of their separate, escalating confrontations with the Untied States.

    Kim in recent months has made Russia his priority as he pushes a foreign policy aimed at expanding relations with countries confronting Washington, embracing the idea of a “new Cold War” and trying to display a united front in Putin’s broader conflicts with the West.

    Tensions on the Korean Peninsula are at their highest point in years, with the pace of both Kim’s weapons tests and combined military exercises involving the U.S., South Korea and Japan intensifying in a tit-for-tat cycle.

    The Koreas also have engaged in Cold War-style psychological warfare that involved North Korea dropping tons of trash on the South with balloons, and the South broadcasting anti-North Korean propaganda with its loudspeakers.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un pose for a photo after the official welcome ceremony in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (Gavriil Grigorov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
    In this photo provided Thursday, June 20, 2024, by the North Korean government, Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, center left, review an honor guard during the official welcome ceremony in the Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea, Wednesday, June 19. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: "KCNA" which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency.(Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)
    Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un attend a State Reception after their talks in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (Gavriil Grigorov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
    Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un pose for a photo during a signing ceremony of the new partnership in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Wednesday, June 19, 2024. Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signed a new partnership that includes a vow of mutual aid if either country is attacked, during a Wednesday summit that came as both face escalating standoffs with the West. (Kristina Kormilitsyna, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
    Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un talk to each other during their tete-a-tete meeting in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (Gavriil Grigorov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
    Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the talks with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang, North Korea, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (Gavriil Grigorov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
    Russian Defense Minister Andrei Belousov attends the talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (Kristina Kormilitsyna, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
    Russian President Vladimir Putin, rear left, and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, both are on the podium, attend the official welcome ceremony at the Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (Gavriil Grigorov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
    North Korea's people attend the official welcome ceremony with Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un in the Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (Vladimir Smirnov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
    North Korea's people attend the official welcome ceremony with Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un in the Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (Vladimir Smirnov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
    Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, right, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, attend a gala concert in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (Gavriil Grigorov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
    A motorcade with Russian President Vladimir Putin drives along a street in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (Gavriil Grigorov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
    A motorcade with Russian President Vladimir Putin drives along a street in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (Gavriil Grigorov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
    North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un stands during the departure ceremony of Russian President Vladimir Putin at an international airport outside Pyongyang, North Korea, on Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (Gavriil Grigorov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

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