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US sounds alarm over China, North Korea's support for Russia's war in Ukraine

US sounds alarm over China, North Korea's support for Russia's war in Ukraine
US sounds alarm over China, North Korea's support for Russia's war in Ukraine

 


Alessandro Garofalo/Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and President Joe Biden attend a press conference after a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G7 summit, in Fasano, Italy, June 13, 2024.



CNN

The question wasn't even addressed to President Joe Bidenbut his determination to provide a response created an eye-opening moment on the Ukraine war, the Russian president said Vladimir Poutine war machine and the worsening tensions between the United States and China.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was asked at a news conference in Italy last week whether China was selling weapons to Russia for use in the war. Biden, who stood beside him, waited for Zelensky to say that President Xi Jinping had told him he would not do it, before firing a kickoff and ending the event. By the way, China does not provide weapons, but the capacity to produce these weapons and the technology available to do so. So it's actually about helping Russia.

The comment appeared to signal a hardening tone toward Beijing after months of U.S. warnings that it should not help its friends in Moscow in the war. NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg reinforced the new hard line during a visit to Washington on Monday that included Oval Office talks with Biden.

Publicly, President Xi has tried to give the impression that he is taking a back seat in this conflict to avoid sanctions and keep trade flowing. But the reality is that China is fueling the largest armed conflict in Europe since World War II, Stoltenberg told the Wilson Center. At the same time, it wants to maintain good relations with the West. Well, Beijing can't have it both ways. At some point, unless China changes course, allies will have to impose a cost.

Concerns that America's enemies are aiding Russia's war effort are sure to grow with Putin's impending trip to North Korea, which the Kremlin fears would bring a very eventful slate of events, including with the tyrannical leader of the isolated Stalinist states, Kim Jong Un.

The idea of ​​an anti-American front between Russia, China, North Korea and Iran has long preoccupied foreign policy experts in Washington. Until recently, U.S. intelligence agencies believed that differences between difficult partners made formal alliances unlikely. But all these powers have one thing in common: the desire to thwart American goals and power. Each is also subject to brutal autocratic rule, threatened by the democracy that unites the United States and its European and Asian allies.

The announcement of Putin's visit to Pyongyang triggered a state of alert in Washington and raised concerns within the government.

In March, U.S. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines told Congress that Russia's need to replenish its military supplies had forced it to grant long-sought concessions to North Korea. She did not specify the extent of the cooperation, but her comment sparked speculation that Moscow would offer nuclear or ballistic expertise. Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell added to the intrigue last week when he said at an event at the Stimson Center that the North Koreans had engaged in a series of provocative actions, including providing to Russia artillery and missiles.

And he added: “We understand very well what North Korea brought to Russia and it had a substantial impact on the battlefield.

But the United States doesn't seem to know what Kim will get in return.

What will Russia offer North Korea in exchange, hard currency? Is it energy? Are these their capabilities that allow them to advance their nuclear or ballistic products? » said Campbell. We don't know, but we are concerned and are monitoring the situation carefully.

He added: “The whole relationship between Russia and North Korea is a subject that we are following closely and which concerns us.

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said Monday that North Korea illegally transferred dozens of ballistic missiles and more than 11,000 munitions containers to help the Russian war effort. We have seen these munitions appear on the battlefield in Ukraine. So we know that they are using DPRK munitions to threaten Ukraine and kill Ukrainians, he said.

And White House national security communications adviser John Kirby said that while the United States was not concerned about Putin's trip, it was looking to see if it would worsen conditions for security in Ukraine and North-East Asia. What concerns us is the deepening of relations between these two countries, not only because of the impact it will have on the Ukrainian people, because we know that North Korean ballistic missiles are still used to strike Ukrainian targets, but also because there could be reciprocity which could affect security on the Korean peninsula. Kirby added: “We're definitely going to be watching this very, very closely.

Putin and Kim clearly know that Washington is watching them.

In an article in North Korea's official Rodong Sinmun newspaper, the Russian leader wrote: “We greatly appreciate the DPRK's unwavering support for the Russian special military operation in Ukraine.

And he cast Russia's isolated state as a committed, like-minded partisan ready to confront the ambition of the collective West.

This story has been updated with additional developments.

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