North Korea: Deal with Russia covers immediate military assistance

North Korea’s deal with Russia will cover immediate military assistance, according to North Korean state media.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowed in the deal, revealed Wednesday, to offer mutual aid and protection against their enemies — specifically in times of war. Putin traveled to Pyongyang this week to meet with Kim.

Both leaders have confirmed the new strategic partnership — a development that sends a warning to the West. The agreement comes as the U.S. continues to support Ukraine in its war with Russia and has made an effort to deter the north from ramping up threats against South Korea.

Kim said the new partnership rises to the level of an alliance, but Putin has not labeled it as such, The Associated Press reported.

North Korean state media outlined a section of the deal that includes promises about mutual aid in its first iteration of the agreement. The arrangement also states that if one of the countries gets invaded and is thrust into war, the other must deploy “all means at its disposal without delay” to provide “military and other assistance,” per the AP.

It is not clear what kind of specific military assistance might be provided, but the AP reported that Putin said he would not “exclude the development of military-technical cooperation with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in accordance with the document signed today.”

South Korea has condemned North Korea’s agreement with Putin, as tension remains high between the countries.

“It’s absurd that two parties with a history of launching wars of invasion — the Korean War and the war in Ukraine — are now vowing mutual military cooperation on the premise of a preemptive attack by the international community that will never happen,” the office of South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said, according to the AP.

“In particular, Russia’s decision to support North Korea and cause harm to our security, despite its status as a permanent member of the Security Council that has endorsed the sanctions resolution against North Korea, will inevitably have a negative impact on (South Korea-Russia) relations,” the office added.

The Associated Press contributed.

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