North Korean Soldiers Cross Border Again Following Putin's Departure: Shots Fired

Third Border Breach by North Korean Soldiers This Month

by Sededin Dedovic
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North Korean Soldiers Cross Border Again Following Putin's Departure: Shots Fired
© Chung Sung-Jun / getty Images

The South Korean military announced today that it fired warning shots after several North Korean soldiers briefly crossed the border. “A few North Korean soldiers working within the demilitarized zone crossed the demarcation line,” the military stated.

After warnings and warning shots from the South Korean military, the North Korean soldiers retreated. The incident occurred on Thursday around 11:00 AM local time and is the third time since the beginning of June that North Korean soldiers have crossed the demarcation line.

This latest incident followed Putin's departure from North Korea after signing a historic agreement with the authoritarian state. The pact signed on Wednesday by Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un obliges both parties to immediately provide military assistance in the event of armed aggression against either of them.

Putin announced large arms deliveries to North Korea.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s statements about Moscow potentially supplying weapons to North Korea following the signing of the defense pact with Pyongyang are very concerning, said U.S.

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller. After this week's visit to North Korea, the Russian president suggested that supplying weapons to the country would be a response to Western nations arming Ukraine. He also warned that South Korea, a U.S.

ally, would make a “big mistake” if it decided to send weapons to Ukraine. In such a case, Moscow's reaction would be “very painful” for Seoul, Putin added. “Such statements are very concerning,” Miller said at a press briefing, responding to a question about Putin's remarks on possible arms deliveries to North Korea, Reuters reported, as relayed by Hina.

“That would, of course, destabilize the Korean Peninsula and, depending on the type of weapons, would also violate UN Security Council resolutions, which Russia has supported,” he stated. The pact signed on Wednesday by Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un obliges both parties to immediately provide military assistance in the event of armed aggression against either of them.

People watch a television broadcast reporting a meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir P© Chung Sung-Jun / Getty Images

White House National Security spokesman John Kirby said the mentioned pact, while concerning, is not surprising.

He views Russia's need for such a partnership as a sign of desperation. “We have talked about this and warned about the growing defense cooperation between these two states over the past few months through a series of intelligence disclosures we have made,” he said.

U.S. officials believe that North Korea is interested in acquiring fighter jets, missiles, armored vehicles, ballistic missile production equipment, and other advanced technologies from Russia. The U.S. and Ukraine claim that North Korea has already supplied Russia with significant amounts of artillery shells and ballistic missiles, which Moscow and Pyongyang deny.

Nuclear Testing

Western countries condemned Russia's veto on extending the mandate of the UN body responsible for monitoring international sanctions on North Korea. The pact between Russia and North Korea could also concern China, Kirby believes, which is why the U.S.

is asking China to keep an eye on Pyongyang. However, analysts point out that the mentioned pact could reduce Beijing's influence over its two neighbors, and any increased instability could negatively affect China's economic and strategic ambitions.

“Russia could provide North Korea with advanced military capabilities that could be very destabilizing,” said Evan Medeiros, an Asia expert in the Obama administration who now teaches at Georgetown University.

“Furthermore, this connection with Russia could give North Korea enough confidence to resume nuclear testing,” he noted. Kim Jong-un last oversaw nuclear testing in 2017, after which sanctions were imposed that were supported by both China and the U.S.

But Washington warns that Pyongyang could resume testing at any moment.

‘Sponsors of Terrorism’

U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham, a Republican, and Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, stated that Putin's visit to North Korea is an additional reason for the U.S.

to list Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism. “This picture says it all,” Blumenthal said at a press conference, holding a photo of Putin’s reception in Pyongyang. Although the proposal has been pushed by the two senators since 2022, President Biden’s administration does not agree that it is an effective way to hold Russia accountable for Ukraine.

On the other hand, Moscow warned Washington that diplomatic relations would be seriously damaged, possibly even severed, if Russia were added to the list of state sponsors of terrorism, which already includes Iran, North Korea, Cuba, and Syria, Al Jazeera reported.

Putin threatens South Korea

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned South Korea that it would be a “big mistake” if it sent weapons to Ukraine for the war against Moscow. Seoul had previously announced that it would review its policy prohibiting direct arms shipments to Ukraine, reacting to the signing of the defense agreement between North Korea and Russia.

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