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North Korea's Weapon Supply to Russia: Escalating Tensions in East Asia πŸ‡°πŸ‡΅πŸͺ–

North Koreas established connection with Russia

By Rakindu PereraPublished 8 months ago β€’ 3 min read

As the war in Ukraine enters its third year, both Russia and Ukraine are facing shortages of key military supplies like artillery shells, small arms ammunition, and spare parts. Looking for new sources of arms, Russia has turned to one of the most heavily militarized and isolated countries in the world - North Korea. Recent reports indicate North Korea may supply Russia with millions of artillery shells and ammunition in exchange for fuel, food, and diplomatic support. However, this cooperation between Russia and North Korea risks further escalating tensions in East Asia. North Korea maintains one of the largest stockpiles of conventional weapons in the world due to its long-running policy of prioritizing the military above all else. After decades of preparation for a potential war with South Korea and the United States, North Korea possesses an estimated 10,000 artillery systems and tens of millions of artillery shells and rockets. Most of these weapons stockpiles were built up during the Cold War when North Korea relied on support from China and the Soviet Union as deterrents against invasion. With changing geopolitics, North Korea's nuclear weapons program now serves as its primary deterrent. Its massive conventional arms stockpiles, particularly artillery, are no longer essential in the same way. Russia's invasion of Ukraine presented an opportunity for North Korea to capitalize on some of these stockpiled arms. In July 2023, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu visited North Korea, likely to discuss arms deals. Then in September, Kim Jong-un met Vladimir Putin in Russia, their second ever meeting. Details of any agreement were not released, but it is believed North Korea may supply Russia with millions of artillery shells and other ammunition. This could keep Russian guns firing in Ukraine for over a year, in exchange for Russian support easing North Korea's economic isolation. However, arms deals between North Korea and Russia alarmed their neighbors. Supplies from North Korea would greatly aid Russia's war effort, but also risk further consequences. South Korea has grown increasingly exasperated by Russian threats and could decide to directly aid Ukraine militarily in response. As one of the largest arms exporters, South Korea supplying lethal aid to Ukraine would mean Ukrainian forces fighting Russian weapons with South Korean weapons. Any increase in North Korean military capabilities from Russian technology transfers would also alarm South Korea and Japan. Both countries would face greater pressure to pursue their own nuclear deterrents. Escalating nuclear proliferation in East Asia would terrify China, which strictly opposes additional countries possessing nuclear arms. More nuclear states near China's borders would undermine Beijing's security interests. China has voiced backing for Russia but does not want to see conflicts spill over internationally or regionally. Arms deals upgrading North Korea's military could negatively impact China's stability calculations for the Korean Peninsula. They risk drawing China openly into opposing Russia on this issue. Russia badly needs new arms supplies but should avoid actions further destabilizing East Asia. As Russia's top trading partner and diplomatic ally, China's displeasure could seriously hurt Moscow's interests. Any military assistance to North Korea must be limited to avoid tipping balances of power. However, North Korea and Russia also have incentives to cooperate covertly while denying the scale of their dealings. The lack of transparency raises the risks of dangerous miscalculations. All sides would be wise to open lines of communication to reduce tensions arising from these murky arms supply relationships. The interconnections between conflicts show how destabilizing spillover effects can emerge unexpectedly. As great powers like Russia look abroad for new leverage during difficult wars, they must consider second and third order impacts far beyond initial gains or losses. North Korea weighs its options too, but the interests of regional stability demand restraint from all. Only through cooperation rather than escalation can messy realities be managed responsibly. The risks of staying silent while tensions rise make communication regarding military deals between unfriendly states an urgent priority for China, South Korea, Japan and the United States.In conclusion, while arms deals between North Korea and Russia present opportunities, the risks of escalating conflict in East Asia should discourage openly aiding each other's wars. Limited, transparent cooperation may be tolerated to avoid direct clashes, but secretive transfers risk starting fires that spread uncontrollably. All sides would benefit from open discussions to clarify intentions and reduce tensions arising fromthese unstable relationshipsbetween unfriendly states.Regional stability demands cooperation and restraint from great powers even during conflicts, to avoid spillover effects destabilizing other vital areas.

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About the Creator

Rakindu Perera

I’m a highly successful content writer with articles recognised by huge varieties of organisations. Also being in completion of a Bachelors Degree in Mechanical Engineering, I have the upmost know when it comes to exteme applications.

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  • Anu Mehjabin8 months ago

    I appreciate your insightful analysis and the way you've provided a comprehensive overview of the complex situation in East Asia. Your post has shed light on the potential consequences of arms deals between Russia and North Korea, and the importance of open communication in a region where tensions run high. Thank you for sharing this thought-provoking perspective.

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