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(EDITORIAL from Korea JoongAng Daily on Sept. 13)

Editorials from Korean dailies 07:09 September 13, 2023

Responding to outcome of the North-Russia summit

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un arrived in Russia on Tuesday after departing from Pyongyang in an armored train on Sunday. With Russian President Vladimir Putin having arrived in Vladivostok first on Monday, the two may likely hold their second summit in the Far Eastern city, since the last meeting in the same location in April 2019.
The timing and potential topic of the two strongmen are raising the alarm in the international community.

The two leaders, each in command of isolated and sanctioned regimes for their aggression and threat to neighbor countries, are feared to make a "devil's deal." Putin is struggling with his entrenched war in Ukraine amid exhausted ammunitions inventory. Kim is obsessively pursuing the advancement of nuclear and missile capacities despite worsening economic conditions from lengthy sanctions.

Many suspect the two could cut an arms deal during the latest meeting. Pyongyang could provide the much-needed conventional artilleries Putin needs in exchange for Russia's advanced technology necessary to perfect its inter-continental ballistic missiles, nuclear-powered submarines and spy satellites.

The entourage accompanying Kim to Russia suggests a military purpose and agenda for the latest visit. Photos showed the group includes top military marshal Ri Pyong-chol, vice chairman of the ruling Workers' Party's Central Military Commission, and his deputy marshal Pak Jong-chon, head of the party's military leadership. Jo Chun-ryong, director of the Munitions Industry Department, also was in the delegation.

The expected itinerary of Kim also underscores the purpose of the visit. Foreign media speculate Kim would be examining nuke-powered submarines in the Pacific Fleet base in Vladivostok. He may tour Russia's spaceport and rocket launch site Vostochny Cosmodrome, sitting above the Armur Oblast in the Russian Far East.

The dangerous deal-in-the-making between Pyongyang and Moscow is reminiscent of the milestone meeting with North Korean founder Kim Il Sung and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in Moscow in the spring of 1950. Stalin provided the latest munitions including tanks to bless Kim's plan to invade South Korea. Their deal led to thousands of deaths in the Korean War. If Russia promises to hand over technology for advanced weaponry like ICBM and nuclear-fueled submarines, it would be supplying weapons of mass destruction in utter defiance of the UN Security Council resolutions and a crime against humanity.

Washington vowed sanctions if North Korea and Russia strike an arms deal after Russia implied it would not comply with the UN sanctions on the North. The two would have to pay the price for their peace-destructive actions. South Korea would be seriously threatened if a weapons deal takes place.

President Yoon Suk Yeol during the Asean plus 3 and Group of 20 summit urged a "responsible role" from Russia as a permanent member of the Security Council. China so far has not outright sided with North Korea amid a renewed truce with Washington in the conflict with the United States. Yoon must achieve a summit with the heads of China and Japan within the year. The government must concentrate all its capabilities on responding to the outcome from North Korea-Russia summit.

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