Truth, Inspiration, Hope.

US, Allies ‘Gravely Concerned’ by North Korea-Russia Cooperation

Published: June 2, 2024
(Image: Russia's President Vladimir Putin and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un attend a meeting at the Vostochny ?osmodrome in the far eastern Amur region, Russia, September 13, 2023 in this image released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency. KCNA via REUTERS/File Photo)

On Friday, May 31, the United States and its main allies said they are “gravely concerned” by deepening cooperation between North Korea and Russia and called for an end to North Korean arms transfers for use against Ukraine.

The U.S. secretary of state and foreign ministers from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, and Britain, as well the EU High Representative, issued a joint statement in response to such activity.

“Our governments stand in resolute opposition to these continued arms transfers, which Russia has used to strike Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, prolonging the suffering of the Ukrainian people,” they said.

The statement continued: “We are gravely concerned by the deepening DPRK-Russia cooperation” in “flagrant violation” of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Moscow and Pyongyang have denied accusations of arms transfers, even though last year they vowed to deepen military relations.

Friday’s joint statement condemned Russia’s veto of a U.N. resolution that would have extended the mandate of an “expert panel” on the North Korean country.

Such a panel was tasked with monitoring the implementation of U.N. sanctions against North Korea.

“We call on the DPRK and Russia to cease unlawful arms transfers,” the statement said.

Days before its mandate expired, the U.N. panel submitted a report confirming that a North Korean-made ballistic missile known as Hwasong-11 had struck the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. That was in plain violation of U.N. sanctions. 

The U.S. and its allies have sought alternative ways to coordinate and monitor sanctions on North Korea, since Russia’s veto.

The alleged North Korean arms transfers to Russia have also prompted responses from South Korea and Japan, Britain and other countries.

“We urge both countries to immediately halt their malign activities,” said a spokesperson for the U.S. State Department, adding it was “the largest multilateral coordinated DPRK sanctions action to date.”

The joint statement called on North Korea to take concrete steps towards abandoning its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles programs and to return to diplomacy.

Reuters contributed to this report.