In this photo provided by the North Korean government, Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shake hands as they meet at the Vostochny cosmodrome outside the city of Tsiolkovsky, Russia, (AP)
Washington: The United States has warned of more sanctions on Russia and North Korea as Kim Jong Un arrived in Moscow to meet President Vladimir Putin recently, giving rise to the concerns of a possible arms deal between the two countries, which has remained the talk of the town for quite sometime now.
In a press briefing on Wednesday, the official spokesperson of the US Department of State, Matthew Miller said, "And then I want to speak specifically for a second about the idea of North Korea providing weapons to Russia, which I spoke to the other day but I don’t think you were here. One, just the overall context, and one thing it’s important to restate again, that a year and a half ago Vladimir Putin launched this war thinking he was going to restore the glory of the Russian empire, failed in all of his maximalist, imperialist aims, and now a year and a half later, after losing tens of thousands of Russian soldiers and spending billions and billions of dollars, here he is begging Kim Jong-un for help."
"So it says something about the overall context of how this war is going for Russia. And with respect to what any outcomes might be, we have taken a number of entity – actions already to sanction entities that have brokered arms sales between North Korea and Russia, and we won’t hesitate to impose additional actions if appropriate," he added.
Miller also stated that there is a "possibility" of weapons flowing two ways here between Russia and North Korea, as he underlined how war unleashed by Russia President Vladimir Putin on Ukraine resulted in the loss of billions of dollars as well as thousands of Russian soldiers.
"So we’re going to watch very closely what comes out of this. I spoke to this somewhat the other day. We’re looking at – I will say there are two different – there are possibilities of weapons flowing two different ways here, right? So with respect to either direction, we would watch very closely and be concerned, and will not hesitate to impose sanctions if and when it’s appropriate," Miller said.
He also highlighted how "troubling" it is to see the cooperation between Russia and North Korea.
"I would say it is troubling when you see the Russians talking about cooperating with North Korea on programs that would violate UN Security Council resolutions that Russia itself voted for. Now, we obviously don’t – we haven’t seen the full manifestation of this meeting yet or what the full outcomes of this meeting will be, but when you see the two – when you see Kim Jong-un vowing to provide full, unconditional support for Russia’s so-called "sacred fight" to defend its security interests, which of course is not what it’s doing with respect to the war in Ukraine, that of course is troubling," Miller told the reporters.
Notably, the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un arrived in Russia on Tuesday for a closely watched summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Kim Jong Un's visit to Russia marks his first foreign trip since the COVID-19 pandemic as during the pandemic, North Korea's borders were sealed.
Issuing support to Moscow in the ongoing war in Ukraine, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un told President Vladimir Putin that Russia will emerge victorious in the fight to "punish the evil forces", adding that he would "always be standing with Russia", according to CNN.
He praised Russia for having "stood up against the hegemonic forces" to defend its sovereignty and security – a veiled reference to the US and the West – and said he has expressed "the full and unconditional support to all that Russia does in response."
Kim said the Russian military and its people will inherit the "shining tradition of victory" and demonstrate their reputation on the front line of the "military operation".
The North Korean leader added that both the leaders had an "in-depth discussion" on the political and military landscape of Korean Peninsula and Europe.
Kim vowed to establish "a new era of 100-year friendship" between two countries, and proposed a toast to "the great Russia’s new victory" and Putin’s health. Notably, these remarks come amid concerns of Russia getting into an arms deal with North Korea, according to CNN.
On the other hand, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the country is considering and discussing some military cooperation with North Korea, CNN reported citing Russian state news agency Russia 1.