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Russia-North Korea Defense Deal May Stir China Tensions: US Official

Photo : AP

During an overseas trip, Air Force General C.Q. Brown, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, raised concerns about the potential for increased friction between China and Russia due to Russian President Vladimir Putin's recent defense agreement with North Korea. Brown noted that this development could disrupt the longstanding alliance between China and North Korea, traditionally seen as a key relationship for the reclusive state.

The agreement, signed on Wednesday, is viewed by analysts as possibly diminishing Beijing's influence over both Russia and North Korea. This scenario, they suggest, could unsettle China's strategic and economic ambitions on a global scale.

Putin's comments on Thursday further fueled concerns, indicating Russia's willingness to supply weapons to North Korea in response to Western military support for Ukraine. Brown acknowledged U.S. apprehensions regarding the deal but tempered them by highlighting potential limitations and expressing skepticism that Moscow would fully satisfy North Korea's military wish list.

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According to U.S. officials, North Korea seeks advanced military hardware from Russia, including fighter aircraft, surface-to-air missiles, armored vehicles, ballistic missile technology, and other sophisticated equipment.

"The feedback I have on the agreement suggests it's broad but not overly binding, indicating a desire for collaboration without overly committing," Brown remarked.

The treaty, endorsed by Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, mandates immediate military aid in the event of aggression against either nation. Putin framed the cooperation as a deterrent against Western interference, asserting that North Korean troops wouldn't be involved in Ukraine.

Both the United States and Ukraine allege that North Korea has already provided Russia with substantial quantities of artillery shells and ballistic missiles, although both Moscow and Pyongyang deny these claims.

June 24, 2024 10:38 a.m. 437

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