NATO worried Russia may support North Korea's missile and nuclear programs

June 19, 2024 3:20 pm

[Source: Reuters]

NATO is concerned about support Russia could provide for North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs, the alliance’s head said on Tuesday as Russian President Vladimir Putin began his first trip to the reclusive nuclear-armed country in 24 years.

Putin, on a state visit for talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, vowed to deepen trade and security ties and to support the North against the U.S., a close ally of its bitter rival South Korea.

The U.S. has accused North Korea of supplying “dozens of ballistic missiles and over 11,000 containers of munitions to Russia” for use in Ukraine.

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NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told a joint press briefing after talks with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken that Russia’s war in Ukraine was being propped up by China, North Korea and Iran, who all wanted to see the Western alliance fail.

“We are of course also concerned about the potential support that Russia provides to North Korea when it comes to supporting their missile and nuclear programs,” Stoltenberg said.

He said this and China’s support for Russia’s war economy showed how security challenges in Europe were linked to Asia and added that next month’s NATO summit in Washington would see a further strengthening of the alliance’s partnerships with Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Japan.

Stoltenberg said there needed to be “consequences” at some stage for China.

“They cannot continue to have normal trade relationships with countries in Europe and at the same time fuel the biggest war we have seen in Europe since the Second World War,” he said.

Stoltenberg said it was too early to say what those consequences might be, “but it has to be an issue that we need to address because to continue as we do today is not viable.”