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Russia-North Korea Security Pact

Why is it in the news?

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un recently forged a significant security partnership in Pyongyang.
  • This move aims to enhance their security ties and challenge the prevailing Western-dominated global order.
  • During his first visit to North Korea in 24 years, President Putin signed a “comprehensive strategic” partnership agreement with Kim Jong-un. Experts have hailed this pact as the strongest between Moscow and Pyongyang since the Cold War’s end, with North Korea’s leader deeming it a breakthrough.

Historical Ties between Russia and North Korea

  • North Korea and Russia’s relations date back to the Soviet era. The Soviet Union was the first to recognize North Korea when it was established in 1948 under Kim Jong-un’s grandfather, Kim Il-sung.
  • The Soviet Union supported North Korea during the 1950-53 Korean War, contrasting with U.S. support for South Korea. This alliance showcased through Kim Il-sung’s gratitude to Soviet leader Joseph Stalin for his support during DPRK’s struggle for independence.
  • Despite an initial strong bond, the relationship between Russia (successor to the Soviet Union) and North Korea deteriorated with the growing divide between China and Russia post-Korean War. Russia furthered its diplomatic ties with South Korea, distancing itself from North Korea, although relations continued.
  • Putin’s election brought about a shift favoring North Korea, evidenced by his meetings with Kim Jong-II in 2000 criticizing U.S. missile defense plans.
  • In 2012, Russia forgave 90% of North Korea’s $11 billion debt. However, tensions arose as North Korea accelerated nuclear tests, leading to UN sanctions favored by Russia.

About the New Pact

  • The recent treaty between Kim Jong-un and Putin centers on safeguarding core interests, deepening the strategic partnership, and alliance between both nations.
  • It promotes immediate military support using all available means during a conflict, in line with the UN Charter’s Article 51 on self-defense.
  • The pact also emphasizes building a just and multipolar world order, enhancing defense capabilities, and addressing food shortages in North Korea.

Geopolitical Implications

  • North Korea’s backing of Russia’s actions in Ukraine hints at a positive turn in their relationship.
  • Allegations suggest North Korea supplied military equipment to Russia amidst the conflict. This partnership, coupled with Russia’s energy supply to North Korea, underscores a mutual stance against the U.S., aligning with China for global power restructuring.


  • The recent spike in rail traffic between Russia and North Korea post-summit symbolizes potential arms exchange.
  • Experts speculate North Korea’s acquisition of advanced weaponry and missile technologies from Russia in exchange for arms sales. This partnership serves as a counterbalance to the West’s influence, uniting Russia and North Korea under shared interests.

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