WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — U.S. officials are watching with concern North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The visit is secret, but U.S. leaders say Russia may want North Korea to give them weapons for the war with Ukraine.
Kim Jong Un arrived in Russia on Tuesday in a heavily armored train.
As Russia struggles to gain ground in the war with Ukraine, it is running out of ammunition. Thom Shanker, a national security expert at George Washington University, says that while North Korea is one of the poorest countries in the world, it is also one of the most militarized.
“Putin expects Kim, the North Korean leader, to get weapons,” Shanker said. “They have a huge stockpile of artillery shells for a possible war with South Korea and the US, and one can imagine Kim selling them to Putin.”
Experts fear that North Korea could provide Russia with military goods in return for economic aid. The State Department is keeping a close eye on this possibility.
“It would be a sign of the desperate state that the Russian government has been in for a year and a half in this war that it has unsuccessfully waged against Ukraine,” said State Department spokesman Matthew Miller.
Miller says any arms transfer between the countries would violate international agreements and warns there would be consequences.
“We will monitor what happens and will not hesitate to take action to hold them accountable if necessary,” Miller said.
These threats may not make a difference.
“North Korea is one of the most heavily sanctioned countries in the world, so it’s hard to imagine what worse could happen,” Shanker said.
Experts say Russia’s resupply of North Korea is likely to prolong the war as the US provides more aid to Ukraine.
“If both sides are rearming and acquiring new weapons, that means the fighting, death, destruction and injury will continue,” Shanker said.