The decade's most triggering comedy
White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters on Tuesday that North Korea would face consequences if it supplies Russia with weapons amid its ongoing war with Ukraine.
“Providing weapons to Russia for use on the battlefield to attack grain silos and the heating infrastructure of major cities as we head into winter to try to conquer territory that belongs to another sovereign nation,” Sullivan said. “This is not going to reflect well on North Korea, and they will pay a price for this in the international community.”
Sullivan’s remarks come after reports that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may soon meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin to negotiate on weapons. Senior Biden administration officials told The Washington Post that Kim plans to make a rare trip out of North Korea to meet with Putin later this month.
“It says a lot that Russia is having to turn to a country like North Korea to seek to bolster its defense capacity in a war that it expected would be over a week,” he added. “That in September of 2023, it is going to North Korea to get munitions to try to continue to grind out on the battlefield in Ukraine.”
The White House revealed last week that the United States had intelligence showing that Kim and Putin have exchanged letters that showed negotiations were “actively advancing” as Russia seeks munitions from North Korea in defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions.
National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson reportedly said on Monday that U.S. officials obtained information that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu traveled to Pyongyang recently and attempted to persuade North Korea to sell ammunition to Russia.
“We have information that Kim Jong Un expects these discussions to continue, to include leader-level diplomatic engagement in Russia,” Watson said, adding that the U.S. is urging North Korea “to cease its arms negotiations with Russia and abide by the public commitments that Pyongyang has made to not provide or sell arms to Russia.”
Shoigu visited Pyongyang in July, and Kim showed off his nation’s banned ballistic missiles. That high-profile trip was reportedly followed by an exchange of delegations.
With this new round of talks, Putin aims to secure more weapons for its war in Ukraine, such as artillery shells and anti-tank missiles, while Kim wants access to Russia’s advanced technology on nuclear submarines and satellites as well as food assistance for his starving country of roughly 26 million people, officials told the New York Times. Kim could also make other stops, including at the Vostochny Cosmodrome space launch center and even Moscow.
The Biden administration has sought to deter weapons negotiations between Russia and North Korea with volleys of sanctions. Previous intelligence about possible arms transactions that made the media rounds last year led both nations to issue denials.
Meanwhile, the U.S. has approved more than $110 billion in aid to Ukraine as its defenders keep up the fight to try and fend off Russian forces who invaded their country over a year and a half ago.
Daniel Chaitin contributed to this report.