North Korea and Russia Sign Defense Treaty

( – Two of the world’s most anti-western nations have signed a dangerous new pact. Russia and North Korea now have a mutual defense agreement. That could cause serious problems for US allies in the region.

On June 19, Russian President Vladimir Putin met North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un for a summit in Pyongyang, Kim’s capital. There, the two signed a treaty that commits both countries to defend each other if attacked. The wide-ranging deal also covers trade, investment, and other types of cooperation.

Putin called the agreement “a truly breakthrough document,” while Kim said it upgrades relations between the two countries to an alliance. There’s no doubt it covers more ground than most international treaties, but the mutual defense pact is the heart of the deal. Although supposedly defensive, it could trigger a war between the two Koreas.

South Korea is a democratic nation and a US ally, which has been under threat for 70 years by the rogue Stalinist regime in the north. There are almost 30,000 Western troops in South Korea and the country has powerful armed forces of its own.

The threat from Pyongyang has also pushed South Korea to develop a large defense industry, which has become a major exporter. For example, Poland is re-equipping its military with hundreds of South Korean tanks and artillery pieces. Now, faced with the growing threat from the Moscow-Pyongyang alliance, South Korea is considering shipping weapons to Ukraine.

From Seoul’s point of view, arming Ukraine makes sense. Sending a few hundred modern tanks would soak up a lot of Russian combat power, meaning it wasn’t available to support North Korea. It would also give South Korean weapons a vital test in high-intensity combat.

The problem is Russia is already issuing threats, claiming that equipping Ukraine would be a “big mistake” and hinting that Moscow sees supplying weapons as joining the war. That’s massive hypocrisy — in almost every war since 1945, at least one side has been supplied with Russian weapons — but Putin is now using it to apply pressure. The subtext is that if Seoul ships weapons, North Korea can then come to Russia’s “defense” and attack the South.

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