US and Key Asian Allies Denounce Putin and Kim’s Military Pact

(Bloomberg) -- The US and its allies Japan and South Korea condemned in “the strongest possible terms” the deepening military cooperation between Russia and North Korea, calling it a grave concern and a threat to stability.

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Top envoys from the three nations discussed Vladimir Putin and leader Kim Jong Un reaching an agreement last week to come to each other’s defense in case of attack, according to a joint statement released by the US State Department. The pact was made during the Russian president’s first visit to North Korea in 24 years.

The US and its Asian allies have said they saw the visit as advancing the transfer of munitions from Kim’s regime to help Putin in his war on Ukraine.

The cooperation “should be of grave concern to anyone with an interest in maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, upholding the global non-proliferation regime, and supporting the people of Ukraine as they defend their freedom and independence against Russia’s brutal aggression,” according to the joint statement.

The talks Monday were among US point person for North Korea, Jung Pak, South Korean Vice Foreign Minister for Strategy and Intelligence Cho Koo-rae and Hiroyuki Namazu, an assistant minister at Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the State Department said.

The US and its partners have accused Kim of sending millions of rounds of artillery and scores of ballistic missiles to Putin for his war on Ukraine. The weapons gained in prominence as Kyiv’s supplies dwindled due to the US Congress holding up new military aid. But with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s government now taking delivery of billions of dollars in fresh arms from its US and European allies, the window for a Russian breakthrough is narrowing.

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