South Korea says North Korea has likely supplied several types of missiles to Russia to support its war in Ukraine, along with its widely reported shipments of ammunition and projectiles.
SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea has likely supplied several types of missiles to Russia to support its war in Ukraine, along with its widely reported shipments of ammunition and projectiles, South Korea’s military said Thursday.
In a briefing to local journalists, South Korea’s military said North Korea is suspected of sending an unspecified number of short-range ballistic missiles, anti-tank missiles and man-portable anti-aircraft missiles to Russia, along with rifles, rocket launchers, mortars and projectiles.
The content of the briefing was shared with The Associated Press.
Last week, South Korea, the United States and Japan strongly condemned North Korea’s alleged supply of ammunition and military equipment to Russia, saying such weapons shipments sharply increased the human cost of Russia’s war in Ukraine. Any arms trade with North Korea would be a violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions that Russia, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, previously supported.
Both Russia and North Korea dismissed the weapons shipment accusations as unfounded.
Outside speculation about North Korean arms shipments erupted after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un traveled to Russia in September to meet with President Vladimir Putin and visit key military facilities. The United States and its allies accused North Korea of seeking high-tech Russian technologies to modernize its arsenal of nuclear weapons and missiles in exchange for its conventional weapons shipments.
In a private briefing with lawmakers on Wednesday, the National Intelligence Service (South Korea’s main spy agency) said more than a million North Korean artillery shells have been sent to Russia since August via ships and planes. Of transport. The NIS said the deliveries were equivalent to about two months’ worth of shells for the Russians, according to lawmaker Yoo Sang-bum, who attended the NIS briefing.
The NIS assessed that North Korea has been operating its munitions factories at full capacity to meet Russian munitions demands and has also been mobilizing residents to increase production.
The NIS said North Korea, for its part, is likely receiving Russian technological assistance in its plan to launch its first military spy satellite into space. North Korea’s two recent attempts to launch a spy satellite failed due to technical problems. North Korea failed to fulfill its promise to make a third launch attempt in October, without giving any reason.
South Korea’s military said North Korea also seeks to receive nuclear-related technologies, fighter jets or related aeronautical equipment and assistance in establishing air defense networks from Russia.
North Korea is currently focusing on expanding its nuclear arsenal while refusing to return to talks with the United States and South Korea. The country’s economy is reeling from major setbacks caused by draconian restrictions imposed during the coronavirus pandemic and strict US-led sanctions.
South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said Thursday it confirmed North Korea’s plan to close its embassies in Uganda, Angola and Spain and a consulate in Hong Kong. The Foreign Ministry said North Korea could close additional diplomatic missions.
North Korean state media said earlier this week that its ambassadors to Angola and Uganda made “farewell” visits to the leaders of those countries last week.
South Korea’s Unification Ministry said Tuesday that the closures reflect North Korea’s financial difficulties. He said the country has diplomatic relations with more than 150 countries, but operates only about 50 diplomatic posts abroad.
The NIS said North Korea is preparing to expand its economic cooperation with China, its largest trading partner and economic channel, before pushing to fully reopen its international borders. The NIS said it obtained intelligence indicating that North Korea sent an economic delegation to China last month to attract investors.