In light of rising tensions with Washington, the White House advises Pyongyang to “cease its arms negotiations” with Moscow.
As tensions between Pyongyang and Washington continue to rise, the White House has cautioned North Korea against providing weapons to Russia for its conflict in Ukraine.
John Kirby, a spokesman for the White House on national security, stated on Wednesday that the possibility of an arms deal between North Korea and Russia worries the United States.
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which is North Korea’s official name, is what Kirby called it. “We urge the DPRK to cease its arms negotiations with Russia and abide by the public commitments that Pyongyang has made to not provide or sell arms to Russia,” he said.
When visiting North Korea and meeting with its leader Kim Jong Un in July, Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s minister of defense, is thought to have attempted to persuade Pyongyang to sell artillery ammunition to Moscow, Kirby continued.
The White House spokesman declined to detail how US officials had gathered the intelligence.
The US has been warning its competitors and adversaries – including China – against helping Russia in its military offensive in Ukraine.
Kirby’s comments on Wednesday came just weeks after Russian President Vladimir Putin and Kim exchanged letters vowing to bolster ties between their two countries.
In a statement at the time, Putin stated, “I am confident that we will strengthen the bilateral cooperation in all fields for the welfare of the two peoples as well as the firm stability and security of the Korean peninsula and the entire Northeast Asia.
The US charged North Korea with clandestinely transporting artillery shells to Russia last year.
Kirby cited “new information” that the talks were progressing and said, “We remain concerned that the DPRK continues to consider providing military support to Russia’s military forces in Ukraine.” “High-level discussions may continue in the upcoming months,” he stated.
The North Korean and Russian missions to the United Nations in New York did not immediately respond to requests for comment from the Reuters news agency.
The US’s accusations regarding weapons have previously been refuted by both North Korea and Russia.
However, North Korea has sided with Russia in the conflict in Ukraine, claiming that Moscow had to use force to defend its security interests due to the “hegemonic policy” of the US-led West.
US-North Korea tensions
Heavy UN sanctions are placed on North Korea because of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, and Russia is also subject to a number of US and Western sanctions because of its invasion of Ukraine last year.
The US Department of State declared on August 15 that “any kind of security cooperation or arms deal between North Korea and Russia would unquestionably be in violation of a number of UN Security Council resolutions.”
As Pyongyang continues to fire intercontinental ballistic missiles in defiance of Washington, the US has issued its most recent warning to the country.
Just hours after the US sent a long-range bomber over the area, the South Korean military reported on Wednesday that North Korea had launched two more ballistic missiles.
Karine Jean-Pierre, a spokeswoman for the White House, denounced Wednesday’s missile launch as a danger to regional stability.
North Korea has expressed its displeasure with the US for conducting joint naval drills with South Korea and Japan, claiming earlier this week that the exercises off the Korean Peninsula increased “the danger of a nuclear war”.
For its part, Washington has accused Pyongyang of violating UN resolutions and destablising the region with its missile testing.
During a trilateral summit near Washington, DC this month, the US along with South Korea and Japan pledged to deepen security cooperation against North Korea, including real-time sharing of data on missile launches.
During his administration, former US President Donald Trump held direct discussions with Kim, but high-level meetings between the two countries ceased under current US President Joe Biden.
“We remain committed to a diplomatic approach to the DPRK and call on the DPRK to engage in dialogue as we have done for some time now,” Jean-Pierre said on Wednesday.
North Korea pledged to “work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” in a joint statement released by the two nations following the first meeting between Trump and Kim in 2018.
But the pledge was never followed by efforts to end North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme.
North Korea carried out its first nuclear weapon test in 2006 in violation of an international ban.
Since then, the UN Security Council has unanimously passed numerous resolutions that imposed sanctions on the country over its nuclear programme.
Last year, Russia and China vetoed a UN Security Council proposal to impose more penalties on North Korea, arguing that sanctions have not been effective in curbing the country’s nuclear programme.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS