Putin, Kim Sign Defense Pact for Mutual Help Against Aggression

Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un have entered into an agreement wherein Russia and North Korea commit to mutual assistance in case either nation faces “aggression.”

The Russian president announced the agreement following discussions with Mr. Kim during his trip to Pyongyang, his first since 2000. Mr. Kim characterized this as elevating their alliance to “a new, high level.”

This agreement solidifies a rapidly growing partnership that has raised concerns in Western countries. Observers suggest that it could have far-reaching global implications.

This mutual defense agreement could lead to Moscow supporting Pyongyang in any future conflicts on the Korean peninsula, while North Korea might openly assist Russia in its ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Accusations have been made against Mr. Kim for providing weapons to Russia, and Mr. Putin is believed to be supplying North Korean missile programs with space technology. Their previous meeting took place in Russia in September.

They signed a “comprehensive partnership agreement” on Wednesday, which includes a clause for “mutual assistance in case of aggression” against either nation, according to Mr. Putin, although he did not specify what would constitute aggression.

Mr. Putin has faced challenges in Ukraine, especially with depleting weapon supplies. At their most recent in-person meeting in Russia, he and Mr. Kim discussed military cooperation and were rumored to have agreed on an arms deal.

Recent evidence suggests that Russia has started using North Korean missiles in Ukraine.

In recent weeks, the US and other NATO countries have authorized Ukraine to use Western weapons on Russian territory, a pivotal decision that Kyiv believes could shift the balance in its favor.

Mr. Putin has threatened repercussions and earlier this month hinted at providing long-range weapons to the West’s adversaries, a capability that North Korea is developing.

He reiterated his criticism of the West’s decision on Wednesday, labeling it as “a gross violation” of international norms.

He also expressed frustration with Western sanctions imposed on Russia and North Korea, stating that both countries reject “the language of blackmail and diktat” and will oppose the West’s “sanctions strangling” to preserve their dominance.

Mr. Kim lauded the treaty as a historic milestone in their relationship and voiced “full support and solidarity” with Russia in its conflict with Ukraine.

The agreement is expected to upset Seoul, which had cautioned Russia prior to the meeting not to overstep certain boundaries.

National Security advisor Chang Ho-jin advised his Russian counterpart to consider the importance of North and South Korea post-Ukraine conflict.

Rachel Lee, a senior fellow at the Stimson Center’s Korea program, noted that the treaty could have “significant implications for the region and the world.”

She warned of potential Russian involvement in new conflicts between the Koreas and the broader issue of global weapons proliferation if North Korea continues its arms supply to Russia and receives advanced military technology in return.