Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov recently met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, where he expressed concerns about the “dangerous” policy of the United States towards North Korea. In a statement issued by Russia’s foreign ministry, Lavrov emphasized the close and long-standing partnership between Russia and North Korea. This meeting, which lasted over an hour, is seen as a precursor to an upcoming visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was invited by Kim during a summit held in Russia last month.
Earlier in the day, Lavrov voiced his criticism of what he deemed a “dangerous” US policy towards North Korea, while highlighting the “new, strategic level” of relations between Moscow and Pyongyang. Lavrov, speaking to journalists, expressed serious worries about the increased military activity of the United States, Japan, and South Korea in the region, along with Washington’s policies. He further stated his opposition to this unconstructive and dangerous approach, without providing further details about the strategic infrastructure being deployed by the United States in the region.
South Korea, in response to a series of weapons tests conducted by North Korea this year, has taken steps to strengthen its security relationship with the United States. This includes joint military exercises and the presence of US strategic assets, such as a nuclear-armed submarine, in South Korean ports. Furthermore, a B-52 bomber capable of carrying a nuclear payload is currently stationed in Cheongju airport, marking its first landing in the country in two decades.
Nevertheless, Lavrov emphasized the growing relationship between Russia and North Korea. He noted that the landmark summit between the two countries has propelled their relations to a qualitatively new, strategic level. Russia also expressed its willingness to assist North Korea with its energy needs, considering the constant challenges faced by the heavily sanctioned country. Lavrov mentioned plans for geological exploration and the supply of energy resources and other necessary goods to North Korea, which will be discussed further in a joint meeting scheduled for November.
Lavrov’s visit to Pyongyang followed his trip to Beijing with President Putin. During a welcome dinner, Lavrov commended North Korea for its support of Russia’s actions in Ukraine. This praise is seen as an indication of the strengthening ties between the two nations.
In a separate development, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visited Russia last month, where he had a face-to-face meeting with President Putin. This meeting, held at Russia’s Vostochny Cosmodrome, was significant due to its symbolic location, given North Korea’s aspirations in the space sector. The summit raised concerns in the West that North Korea might provide weapons assistance to Russia for its involvement in the conflict in Ukraine. The United States recently stated that arms shipments from North Korea to Russia have already begun, with over 1,000 containers of military equipment and munitions being delivered. However, Moscow has denied these allegations, asserting that there is no evidence to support such claims.
In conclusion, the meeting between Lavrov and Kim Jong Un highlights the ongoing diplomatic efforts between Russia and North Korea. Lavrov’s criticism of US policy towards North Korea underscores the complex dynamics in the region, while the strengthening relationship between Russia and North Korea signals potential shifts in the balance of power.