SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea mentioned on Tuesday it has by no means had arms dealings with Russia and has no plans to take action, its state media reported, after america mentioned North Korea seems to be supplying Russia with artillery shells for its conflict in Ukraine.
White Home Nationwide Safety spokesperson John Kirby mentioned final week america has info that signifies North Korea is covertly supplying Russia with a “important” variety of artillery shells.
Kirby mentioned North Korea was making an attempt to obscure the shipments by funnelling them by international locations within the Center East and North Africa and that Washington was monitoring to see whether or not the shipments are acquired.
A North Korean protection ministry official referred to as the allegations a rumor and mentioned Pyongyang has “by no means had ‘arms dealings’ with Russia” and has “no plan to take action sooner or later.”
“We regard such strikes of the U.S. as a part of its hostile try and tarnish the picture of the DPRK within the worldwide enviornment by invoking the unlawful ‘sanctions decision’ of the (U.N. Safety Council) towards the DPRK,” the official mentioned in an announcement carried by state-run information company KCNA, referring to the North by the initials of its official title, the Democratic Individuals’s Republic of Korea.
Any arms support could be an additional signal of deepening ties between Moscow and Pyongyang as Russia’s isolation over its conflict in Ukraine has grown.
North Korea was one of many solely international locations to acknowledge the independence of breakaway Ukrainian areas, and it has expressed assist for Russia’s proclaimed annexation of components of Ukraine.
“North Korea is clearly utilizing the Ukraine conflict to tighten its relations with Russia,” Victor Cha, of the U.S.-based Middle for Strategic and Worldwide Research, mentioned in an announcement.
Kirby’s feedback recommend Washington will watch the shipments however is not going to intercept them given it doesn’t consider they are going to affect the conflict considerably, he mentioned.
Nonetheless, america has the capability to trace shipments, and interception may very well be an choice provided that Russia wields a veto on the U.N. Safety Council and may block any measures there, Cha added.
“To keep away from any army altercations, U.S. authorities might coordinate with keen international locations to detain the cargo at customs to forestall their making it to the battlefield,” he mentioned.