Explained: Strategic Partnership Treaty Signed Between North Korea & Russia; How It May Impact The World

Explained: Strategic Partnership Treaty Signed Between North Korea & Russia; How It May Impact The World

According to North Korean state media, the leaders of both countries signed a comprehensive strategic partnership treaty that included both countries pledging to help each other if attacked.

Manasi KambleUpdated: Friday, June 21, 2024, 01:54 PM IST
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(L) Russian President Vladmir Putin and (R) North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un signed 'Treaty on the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership' in Pyongyang. | X

Seoul: Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un signed a significant mutual defense agreement known as the "Treaty on the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership," on Thursday June 20, the contents of which were recently made public by North Korean state media.

This treaty marks a pivotal development in their relationship, aiming to elevate bilateral ties to the level of an "alliance." Here are the key elements and historical context surrounding this agreement:

(L) North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un and (R) Russian President Vladmir Putin in Pyongyang.

(L) North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un and (R) Russian President Vladmir Putin in Pyongyang. | X

Key Elements of the Treaty

Foundation of Partnership: The treaty aims to establish a permanent partnership based on principles such as mutual respect for national sovereignty, non-aggression on territory, non-interference in internal affairs, and equality under international law.

Strategic Goals: Both nations seek to promote global strategic stability and advocate for a new international order that is fair and equitable. They intend to enhance strategic and tactical cooperation across various domains.

Mutual Defense: An essential component of the treaty involves mutual defense obligations. If either country faces a direct threat of armed aggression, immediate activation of communication channels is required. Moreover, in the event of war, each party commits to provide military and other forms of assistance promptly, in accordance with Article 51 of the U.N. Charter, which pertains to the right of self-defense.

Exclusive Relations: The treaty prohibits either party from entering into agreements with third countries that infringe upon the core interests of the other or allow the use of their territories by third parties seeking to undermine the other's security and sovereignty.

Support for Peace: Both Russia and North Korea pledge to support policies that promote peace, protect sovereignty, security, and stability. They also commit to cooperating in efforts to construct a just and multipolar global order.

International Cooperation: The treaty emphasizes collaboration at international forums like the U.N. on matters of mutual interest and security. They agree to support each other's membership applications to relevant international entities.

Defense Cooperation: Measures will be prepared for joint actions aimed at bolstering defense capabilities to prevent conflicts and ensure regional and international peace and security.

Historic Context

The roots of Russian-North Korean relations trace back to the aftermath of World War II. The former Soviet Union actively supported the establishment of a communist regime in Korea and provided significant military aid during the Korean War. This partnership culminated in the signing of the Russo-North Korea Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance in 1961, which included mutual defense provisions.

Following the Soviet Union's dissolution in 1991, bilateral ties experienced fluctuations, but relations improved significantly from the early 2000s onward, particularly under Putin's leadership. Despite occasional disagreements, such as Russia's initial support for sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear program, the relationship gradually strengthened.

Putin's Visit

Putin's rare visit to North Korea underscored the strategic importance of the new treaty. During the visit, both leaders signed the comprehensive strategic partnership agreement, highlighting their commitment to mutual assistance in case of aggression.

Entire population of Pyongyang at the welcome of Russian President Vladmir Putin

Entire population of Pyongyang at the welcome of Russian President Vladmir Putin | X

The deepening Russia-North Korea alliance has raised concerns among neighboring countries like South Korea and Japan. They fear potential implications for regional security, prompting South Korea to consider revising its policies, including the possibility of providing lethal military aid to Ukraine in response to Russia's actions in the region.

Putin's Message To South Korea
South Korea and Japan also expressed concern about the impact of such military-technical cooperation on regional security. Their response to the deepening Russia-North Korea relationship could also have implications outside the region. On Thursday, South Koreaโ€™s presidential office said it was considering a change in policy that would allow for the provision of lethal military aid to Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin has responded to the concerns and help provided to Ukraine by South Korea in the meeting held in Pyongyang, North Korea, that, "If South Korea supplies weapons to Ukraine, they won't like the answer, I hope they won't do it." according to a video released by the BRICS social media X account (formerly Twitter)

Global Impact

The treaty between Russia and North Korea comes at a critical juncture, coinciding with Russia's strained relations with Western nations, particularly due to its conflict with Ukraine. This alliance could potentially alter the balance of power in East Asia and create challenges for China, which has historically been a key ally of North Korea.

China, while traditionally supportive of North Korea, may find itself in a delicate position due to Russia's increased military cooperation with Pyongyang. This development could undermine China's predominant influence over North Korea and potentially lead to a greater Western presence in Asia, complicating regional dynamics.

Furthermore, the Russia-North Korea pact may complicate efforts to curb North Korea's nuclear ambitions. This includes the development of ballistic missiles capable of reaching the continental United States, posing a significant challenge to global non-proliferation efforts.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the 'Treaty on the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership' between Russia and North Korea marks a significant milestone in their bilateral relations, elevating their ties to the level of an alliance with mutual defense obligations. This development has broad implications for regional security in East Asia and beyond, potentially reshaping geopolitical alignments and strategies. As international reactions unfold, the treaty's impact on global stability and efforts to address North Korea's nuclear program will undoubtedly remain topics of intense scrutiny and concern.

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