That’s the view of analysts who say an expected meeting between Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin could lead to Pyongyang getting its hands on the sort of weapons two decades’ worth of United Nations’ sanctions have barred it from accessing.
Kim's private train arrived in Russia on Tuesday, according to Russian state media. State media also cited the Kremlin in confirming the two leaders are set to meet "within days."
This comes after US officials warned last week that the two countries are "actively advancing" their arms negotiations, more than a year and a half of war in Ukraine has left the Russian military battered, depleted and in need of supplies.
The meeting would also come after 17 years of UN sanctions aimed at hampering North Korea’s ability to build a fully functioning nuclear weapons and ballistic missile force.
“This [meeting] is a very significant development if it goes forward,” said Leif-Eric Easley, professor of international studies at Ewha Womans University in Seoul. “Russia has the military technology that Kim wants for his illegal satellite launch and nuclear weapons delivery programs.”
Were Kim to get his hands on technology from Russia, a world leader in nuclear missile forces for decades, it would be a great boost for his programs and a great concern for leaders in the West, analysts said.
Weapons in Ukraine: Meanwhile, North Korea delivered infantry rockets and missiles into Russia for use by Wagner forces late last year, and the potential deal being discussed would provide Russian troops with much more weapons, said National Security Council spokesman John Kirby in August.
“Under these potential deals Russia would receive significant quantities and multiple types of munitions form the DPRK, which the Russian military plans to use in Ukraine,” he said.