North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un is traveling to eastern Russia to meet President Vladimir Putin. Washington threatened to increase sanctions on Pyongyang in response.
Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin’s spokesman, described the meeting as a full-state visit. “There will be talks between the two delegations. And after that, if necessary, the leaders will continue their communication in a one-on-one format,” he said. “We will continue to strengthen our friendship.” The leaders will meet in Vladivostok. South Korea says Kim is currently traveling to Russia by train.
US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said Washington plans to respond “aggressively.” “I will remind both countries that any transfer of arms from North Korea to Russia would be in violation of multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions.” He continued, “We, of course, have aggressively enforced our sanctions against entities that fund Russia’s war effort, and we will continue to enforce those sanctions and will not hesitate to impose new sanctions if appropriate.”
It is unclear what new sanctions the US could place on North Korea that would further isolate Pyongyang. The Treasury Department has already placed thousands of penalties against North Korean officials, government offices, and industries on the blacklist.
The New York Times reports that Kim is expected to agree to supply Russia with weapons, including artillery shells. Adrienne Watson, a National Security Council spokeswoman, demanded the North Korean leader not discuss the issue with his Russian counterpart. “We urge [North Korea] to cease its arms negotiations with Russia and abide by the public commitments that Pyongyang has made to not provide or sell arms to Russia,” she said.
Pyongyang is believed to have significant stockpiles of shells and production capacity. On the Ukrainian battlefield, artillery has become crucial. Western countries have begun to run out of 155mm rounds to send to Ukraine, prompting President Joe Biden to provide Ukraine with cluster munitions to cover the shortage.
Currently, NATO states are producing less artillery than Ukraine is using. With Ukraine’s counteroffensive stalled, the war appears likely to draw on into the foreseeable future.
In July, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu traveled to North Korea to meet with Kim. South Korean intelligence claims Moscow offered to allow Pyongyang to participate in trilateral war games with Beijing.
Washington’s sanctions campaigns against several states are becoming counter-effective. The US is currently attempting to smash the governments of Russia, Afghanistan, North Korea, Syria, Nicaragua, Iran, and Venezuela through economic warfare. However, in response, those countries have increasingly engaged in non-dollar trade to bypass American sanctions. Additionally, other countries such as China, India, and Brazil have become willing to ignore the Treasury’s blacklists and trade with sanctioned nations.