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North Korea and Russia are Strengthening Relations

Russian President Vladimir Putin, second left, greets North Korea's delegation prior to his talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, left, in Vladivostok, in this April 25, 2019, file photo. AP-Yonhap
Russian President Vladimir Putin, second left, greets North Korea’s delegation prior to his talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, left, in Vladivostok, in this April 25, 2019, file photo. AP-Yonhap

At a time when many countries have been distancing themselves from Russia due to its ongoing invasion of Ukraine, South Korea’s nearest neighbor has been doing the exact opposite.

Other than Syria, North Korea is the only country that has recognized the independence of two Russia-backed separatist regions in eastern Ukraine in a show of support for Moscow’s war. A U.S. intelligence report shows North Korea is also planning to sell Russia millions of rockets and artillery shells.

The improving relations between the two allies could kill any remaining hopes of achieving the denuclearization of North Korea, which announced its new nuclear weapons law earlier this month, according to experts.

“North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has clearly showed that he wants to improve relations with Russia, which can do much to help. So far, Russia has shown little interest. But pushed into a corner amid the war, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin might respond,” Hwang Il-do, a professor at Korea National Diplomatic Academy, said during a forum at the Korea Institute for National Unification’s (KINU) office in Seoul, Wednesday.

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