Russia opposes sanctions against North Korea, calls them improper

Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean President Kim Jong-un met in Russia on Wednesday amid heightened speculations in the West about the meeting’s purpose. Kim expressed his country’s full support to Russian attempts to fight against “hegemony and imperialism”

September 13, 2023 by Peoples Dispatch
Russia-North Korea
Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. (Photo: Vladimir Smirnov/TASS)

Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia’s far eastern Amur region on Wednesday, September 13. The two countries decided to deepen their bilateral relations, including military-technical cooperation.  

During the meeting, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russia considers the international sanctions on North Korea as “improper” and will ensure that they are removed. He claimed that China also shared the Russian view. 

Kim arrived at the Khasan station in Russia aboard a train on Monday, and was accompanied by a large delegation of North Korea’s top officials. 

After being received by Russian Natural Resources and Environment Minister Alexander Kozlov at the station, Kim continued his journey to Vostochny where Putin joined him after having attended the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok. 

This is Kim’s first international trip since COVID-19 and his second visit to Russia. He previously visited Russia in 2019. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu had visited Pyongyang in July to attend the 70th anniversary of the armistice which ended the Korean war (1950-53).

This year, both the countries are celebrating 75 years of their diplomatic relationship. 

North Korea supports Russian fight against imperialism 

Kim’s visit invited heightened attention from the West, particularly the US, which claimed that the meeting was to finalize weapons supplies to Russia for the war in Ukraine. 

US National Security Advisor Jack Sullivan had told the press last Tuesday that the decision to supply weapons to Russia will not “reflect well on North Korea and they will pay a price for this in the international community.”  Both North Korea and Russia have ignored such claims. 

During the meeting with Putin, Kim expressed his country’s full support to Russian attempts to fight against “hegemony and imperialism,” saying that it was a “sacred” fight and “we will always stand together [with Russia] against imperialism.” He added that the relationship with Russia was a top priority for his country.

North Korea is one of the countries that has refused to criticize Russia in international forums for the war in Ukraine and had even recognized the sovereignty of the Donbass republics following their declaration of independence last year. 

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that Putin and Kim discussed various bilateral, regional, and international issues, as well as some “sensitive issues” which cannot be disclosed, Sputnik reported

Peskov also rebuked the Western media hype and speculation about the purpose of the visit. He said that “the truth, first of all, is that North Korea is our close neighbor. And despite any ‘comments’ or ‘cries’ from the outside, we will build a relationship with our neighbor in a way that is beneficial to us and beneficial to our neighbors.” He added that the full range of their bilateral relationship includes “military-technical cooperation and exchange of views on security.”  

In a major move, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov was quoted by Sputnik as saying that the circumstances in which sanctions against North Korea were adopted in the UN Security Council have changed and that Russia does not support those sanctions anymore. Lavrov also claimed that China agrees with the Russian assessment.  

North Korea has faced unilateral US sanctions since the Korean war in the 1950s. After its first nuclear test in 2006, the UN Security Council also imposed numerous sanctions on the country which were extended and intensified in 2017.