Putin and Kim Jong Un: Unlikely Partners in a Changing World

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Common Ground Amid Isolation

Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un, leaders of Russia and North Korea, respectively, share a striking commonality: isolation. Both leaders have refrained from international travel for significant periods, and their countries face the brunt of international sanctions, earning them the label of “rogue states.” Both also fiercely oppose the dominance of the United States, making them potential allies on the global stage.

A Pragmatic Relationship

While not a bromance in the vein of former US President Donald Trump’s affection for Kim Jong Un, Putin and Kim see strategic advantages in strengthening their ties. North Korea boasts a formidable defense industry with extensive production capabilities, which could prove invaluable for Russia, particularly in light of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Reports suggest that arms discussions between Russia and North Korea are actively progressing, potentially involving the supply of munitions.

Signs of Military Cooperation

In a surprising move, Sergei Shoigu, the Russian defense minister, visited North Korea in July, marking the first such visit by a Russian defense minister since the Soviet Union’s dissolution. During the visit, Kim Jong Un personally guided Shoigu through a weapons exhibition, hinting at closer military collaboration. Speculation also arises regarding potential joint military exercises in the future.

Shifting Alliances in Pursuit of Power

This alignment between Russia and North Korea signifies a shift in Russia’s stance. Despite previously supporting United Nations Security Council sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear weapons program, Russia may now be willing to cooperate militarily. This transformation aligns with Putin’s ambition to reshape the global order according to Russia’s interests, exemplified by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

North Korea’s Aspirations and Mutual Benefits

North Korea seeks humanitarian aid to address food shortages and advanced Russian technology for satellites and military purposes, potentially including nuclear-powered submarines. Additionally, Russia, currently embroiled in a protracted war, could benefit from North Korea’s munitions supply. Nevertheless, former Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev asserts that Putin is not desperate and can adapt to circumvent sanctions, collaborate with China, North Korea, and African regimes, albeit temporarily.

As Russia and North Korea inch closer in their pursuit of shared interests, the global geopolitical landscape continues to evolve, presenting new challenges and opportunities for these unlikely partners.

SOURCE: Ref Image from Radio Free Europe

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