U.S. Uneasy, Powerless as North Korea’s Kim Arrives in Russia to Meet Putin
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U.S. Uneasy, Powerless as North Korea’s Kim Arrives in Russia to Meet Putin


APLN Vice Chair Moon Chung-in was quoted in the Washington Times, where he pointed out that current sanctions and pressure may have reached their limits in influencing Russia and DPRK, driving the nations closer together. Read the full article here.

South Korean and U.S figures are demanding — in vain, so far — that Russia and North Korea cease and desist: White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre warned that any arms deal between North Korea and Russia “would directly violate a number of U.N. Security Council resolutions” and that the U.S. will expose and sanction individuals and entities working to facilitate deals.

Yet neither the U.S., South Korea, nor their allies and partners, are positioned to compel the leaders of the two rogue states to bend to their will. And some say a policy of failing to keep lines of communication open to Pyongyang under President Biden and conservative South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol bears a large share of the blame.

“The U.S. has imposed maximum sanctions and pressures on Russia and North Korea, so what other leverage do they have beyond rhetoric?” said Moon Chung-in, a high-profile academic who has advised past South Korean governments favoring engagement with the Kim regime. “There is maximum pressure on both counties, and no business or humanitarian transactions, so beyond the rhetoric of warning, I don’t think these remarks will have any impact” on Mr. Kim or Mr. Putin.

Wider geopolitical policies are driving Moscow and Pyongyang together, he argued.

“The West tried to isolate Russia, China and North Korea and so there are growing bonds among those countries,” said Mr. Moon. “The context of U.S. rivalry with China, the Ukraine war and international efforts to isolate Russia have fostered the Putin-Kim meeting.”

Beyond the prospect of a badly needed arms deal, Andrei Lankov, a North Korea expert at Seoul’s Kookmin University, said the Kremlin is sending a signal to the Yoon government as it ramps up its support for NATO and Ukraine in the war.

“I believe this is all designed to create an impression that Russia and North Korea are going to start military cooperation, and the message is aimed at Seoul as much as Washington,” Mr. Lankov said.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Seoul has sold a massive package of arms to Poland worth over $15 billion, and has transferred hundreds of thousands of artillery shells to the U.S.

Image: Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un shake hands during their meeting in Vladivostok, Russia on April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool, File)

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