HomeNewsThe highs and lows of Russia, North Korea relations Acquire US

The highs and lows of Russia, North Korea relations Acquire US

Regardless of their often-aligning pursuits, ties between Moscow and Pyongyang haven’t all the time been rosy. Right here’s a timeline of key occasions.

North Korean chief Kim Jong Un is in Russia to fulfill President Vladimir Putin.

The summit on Wednesday will likely be Kim’s second with Putin, and the North Korean chief is anticipated to hunt financial support and navy know-how for his impoverished nation.

America, which first revealed that the go to was imminent, stated Kim and Putin had been additionally more likely to talk about North Korea offering Russia with weapons for its gruelling battle in Ukraine. Such a transfer would mark a reversal of roles from the 1950-53 Korean Warfare, when the Soviet Union offered ammunition, warplanes and pilots to help communist North Korea’s invasion of neighbouring South Korea.

Right here’s how North Korea-Russia relations started and a number of the highs and lows of their ties.

Chilly Warfare allies

  • When Japan’s colonial rule of Korea ended with its defeat in World Warfare II in 1945, the peninsula was divided right into a Soviet Union-backed north and US-backed south. Moscow put in Kim Il Sung – who had led a Korean contingent within the Soviet military – as chief in Pyongyang and he established the communist North Korean state in 1948.
  • Two years later, with the backing of the Soviet Union and China, Kim Il Sung’s forces invaded South Korea.
  • Troops from South Korea, the US and different nations battled to repel the invasion, with the following battle claiming hundreds of thousands of lives. An armistice in 1953 introduced an finish to the preventing however left the Korean Peninsula in a technical state of battle.
  • The Soviet Union continued to supply financial and navy help to North Korea all through the Chilly Warfare, together with in gas and weapons. In 1961, Kim Il Sung and then-Soviet chief Nikita Khrushchev signed a treaty wherein Moscow dedicated to defend Pyongyang within the occasion of an assault.
Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev, left, bids farewell to Kim Il Sung previous to the latter’s departure from Moscow on July 7, 1961 [AP]

Relations break off

  • The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, nevertheless, disadvantaged North Korea of its fundamental financial and safety benefactor.
  • The post-communist authorities in Moscow beneath President Boris Yeltsin allowed the navy alliance with Pyongyang to run out and reduce off support to the nation. The lack of Soviet help, together with financial mismanagement, helped spark a lethal famine in North Korea.
  • The quantity of people that died within the mass hunger has been estimated within the a whole bunch of 1000’s.


  • Putin, who was elected Russia’s president in 2000, actively sought to revive Moscow’s ties with North Korea.
  • Months into his presidency, Putin travelled to Pyongyang to fulfill Kim Jong Il, who had taken over when his father died. The go to made Putin the primary Russian chief to go to North Korea. He and Kim Jong Il agreed to place relations again on observe and signed a broad navy cooperation settlement.
  • Putin hosted Kim Jong Il for subsequent conferences in Russia in 2001 and 2002.
Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures as he talks to North Korean then-leader Kim Jong Il during their meeting in Vladivostok, Russia, on August 23, 2002.
Russian President Vladimir Putin talks to North Korea’s then-leader Kim Jong Il throughout their assembly in Vladivostok, Russia, on August 23, 2002 [Alexander Zemlianichenko/ AP]

Nuclear programme

  • Regardless of hotter relations, Russia twice supported United Nations Safety Council sanctions towards North Korea within the mid to late 2000s, over Pyongyang’s then-nascent nuclear weapons and missiles programme. Russia additionally participated in talks aimed toward persuading Pyongyang to desert its atomic programme in trade for safety and financial advantages.
  • However the talks, which additionally concerned the US, China, South Korea and Japan, collapsed in December 2008.
  • Kim Jong Il made his third and last journey to Russia in 2011, 4 months earlier than he died. His son Kim Jong Un then took over.
  • The subsequent 12 months, Russia agreed to write down off 90 p.c of the $11bn debt owed to it by North Korea.
  • However Moscow, together with China, additionally went on to help stringent UN Safety Council sanctions towards North Korea in 2016 and 2017 because the nation started accelerating its nuclear and missile checks. The punitive measures included limiting oil provides and cracking down on North Korean labour exports.
  • In 2017, Kim Jong Un took steps to restore ties with each Russia and China after additionally initiating diplomacy with South Korea and the US.
  • As talks with Washington collapsed two years later, Kim Jong Un travelled to the jap Russian metropolis of Vladivostok for his first summit with Putin. The 2 leaders pledged to increase cooperation however the assembly didn’t produce substantial outcomes.

Shared isolation, nearer ties

  • When Russia launched a full-scale invasion towards Ukraine in 2022, North Korea backed Moscow, claiming the West’s “hegemonic coverage” gave Putin justification to ship troops into the neighbouring nation. North Korea was additionally one of many solely nations to recognise the independence of two Moscow-backed separatist areas in jap Ukraine.
  • Russia has reciprocated by becoming a member of China in opposing new sanctions on North Korea, regardless of Pyongyang finishing up a file variety of missile checks. In April of final 12 months, Moscow and Beijing vetoed a US-led sanctions push towards North Korea, publicly splitting the Safety Council for the primary time because it began punishing Pyongyang in 2006.
  • The US has since accused North Korea of offering Russia with arms, together with by promoting artillery to the Russian Wagner mercenary group. Each Moscow and Pyongyang have denied the claims.
  • However hypothesis about navy cooperation between the 2 nations has grown since Sergei Shoigu, the Russian defence minister, visited North Korea in July. Whereas in Pyongyang, Shoigu attended an enormous navy parade the place Kim Jong Un showcased long-range missiles designed to focus on the US mainland. Kim additionally gave Shoigu a private tour of a defence exhibition.
  • Following Shoigu’s journey, Kim Jong Un toured North Korea’s weapons factories in visits specialists stated had the twin objective of encouraging the modernisation of the nation’s weaponry and inspecting artillery and different provides that could possibly be exported to Russia.

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