North Korea says Kim and Putin’s defense pact permits all available means to assist each other if either nation attacked | CNN (2024)

North Korea says Kim and Putin’s defense pact permits all available means to assist each other if either nation attacked | CNN (1)

Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un shake hands after a signing ceremony of the new partnership in Pyongyang, North Korea, on June 19, 2024.

CNN

North Korea and Russia have pledged to use all available means to provide immediate military assistance in the event the other is attacked, according to the text of a new landmark defense pact agreed by the two autocratic nations.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signed the new strategic partnership agreement Wednesday in Pyongyang during a rare state visitby the Russian leader who described the deal as a “new level” in bilateral relations.

The pact, which comes against the backdrop of Putin’s grinding war against Ukraine, is the most significant agreement signed by Russia and North Korea in decades and is seen as something of a revival of their 1961 Cold War-era mutual defense pledge. It also consolidates the Kim regime’s powerful link with a world power that wields a veto on the UN Security Council.

On Thursday, North Korean state media KCNA published the full text of the pact, which also includes political, trade, investment, and security cooperation.

According to the text, Article 4 states that should either country “get into a state of war due to an armed aggression” the other “shall immediately provide military and other assistance with all the means at its disposal.”

In this pool photograph distributed by the Russian state agency Sputnik, Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (R) attend a signing ceremony following their bilateral talks at ku*msusan state residence in Pyongyang, on June 19, 2024. (Photo by Kristina Kormilitsyna / POOL / AFP) / -- Editor's note : this image is distributed by the Russian state owned agency Sputnik - (Photo by KRISTINA KORMILITSYNA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) Kristina Kormilitsyna/AFP/Getty Images Related article A NATO-style defense pact and an image boost – what Putin got from North Korean visit

The newly released text will now raise several questions for Western observers, including whether Russia’s powerful nuclear deterrent now extends to North Korea, or if the two nations will now hold joint military drills.

Putin referenced the defense clause after the meeting with Kim Wednesday, saying it provides “for the provision of mutual assistance in the event of aggression against one of the parties to this agreement.”

Kim, meanwhile, called the new “alliance” a “watershed moment in the development of the bilateral relations.”

Some analysts say the pact reads more like a formal defense treaty than a partnership agreement.

“In a sense this is laying out what they have been already building up in the recent months and years,” said Jo Bee-yun, Associate Research Fellow at Korea Institute for Defense Analyses. “But definitely I would say this clause is very alarming because it is somewhere near reaching say a kind of a mutual defense treaty.”

Yu Ji-hoon, research fellow at the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses said the treaty’s “automatic intervention clause”means all military assets will be mobilized, “including the army, navy, and air force.”

Details on the clause are scant, however, and Yu said it was “necessary to closely monitor the provisions regarding military intervention by North Korea and Russia.”

For example, North Korea refers to “South Korea-US training, or training targeting North Korea” as an attack, “but it is not viewed as equivalent to war,” Yu said.

The agreement cements the two countries’ deepening alignment in the face of their international isolation over Moscow’s war in Ukraine and Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile program.

North Korea says Kim and Putin’s defense pact permits all available means to assist each other if either nation attacked | CNN (3)

Russia's President Vladimir Putin and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un attend an official welcoming ceremony at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea June 19, 2024.

The US, South Korea and other countries have accused North Korea ofproviding substantial military aidto Russia’s war effort, while observers have raised concerns that Moscow may be violating international sanctions to aid Pyongyang’s development of itsnascent military satellite program. Both countries have denied North Korean arms exports, despite significant evidence of such transfers.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attend an official welcoming ceremony at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea on June 19, 2024. Vladimir Smirnov/Sputnik/Pool/Reuters Related article Putin says Russia and North Korea will help each other if attacked, taking ties to a ‘new level’

Speaking after his meeting with Kim, Putin rankled against what he called “the imperialist policy of the United States and its satellites,” and said Russia “does not rule out the development of military-technical cooperation with the DPRK,” referring to North Korea by its official acronym.

Analysts say any strengthening of technology cooperation would enhance North Korea’s military power.

“This includes advancements in nuclear weapons and effective means of delivering these nuclear capabilities,” Yu said.

Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul, said the pact “symbolizes Moscow choosing Pyongyang over the international nonproliferation regime and Russia’s obligations as a member of the UN Security Council.”

This story has been updated.

CNN’s Simone McCarthy contributed reporting.

North Korea says Kim and Putin’s defense pact permits all available means to assist each other if either nation attacked | CNN (2024)

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