The significance of Putin-Kim summit 

It’s not just about the USA

The longstanding alliance between Russia and North Korea is built on a robust partnership, orchestrated by mutual respect, shared goals, and historical ties. Over seven decades, this relationship has been rooted in a shared struggle against Japanese militarism during WWII and the quest for national sovereignty. President Vladimir Putin’s recent state visit to North Korea signifies the commitment of both nations to deepen their cooperation and face global challenges together.

The friendship between Russia and North Korea began in the aftermath of World War II when Soviet soldiers, alongside Korean patriots, defeated the Kwantung Army and liberated the Korean peninsula. This victory is immortalized by the monument on ‘Moranbong Hill’ in Pyongyang, which commemorates the Red Army’s role in Korea’s liberation. The USSR was the first to recognize the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and established diplomatic relations in 1948. Thereafter, this relationship marked the beginning of a partnership that would shape the region’s geopolitical landscape.

In the early years, the USSR played a pivotal role in helping North Korea build its national economy, healthcare system, and educational infrastructure. The Fatherland Liberation War (1950-1953) further cemented this alliance, with the USSR providing crucial support to North Korea in its fight for independence. This assistance continued in the post-war period, aiding in the restoration and strengthening of North Korea’s national economy.

The bilateral relations saw significant milestones with Vladimir Putin’s first visit to Pyongyang in 2000 and subsequent interactions with North Korean leaders. These meetings laid the groundwork for multifaceted cooperation, encompassing economic, cultural, and strategic dimensions. The mutual visits and agreements reflect the commitment of both nations to a shared vision of sovereignty and development.

Today, Russia and North Korea’s partnership extends beyond historical ties to active collaboration on contemporary global issues. North Korea’s unwavering support for Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine exemplifies this solidarity. Both nations stand united against what they perceive as Western attempts to impose a “rules-based order,” which they view as a guise for neo-colonialism and double standards.

In a world marked by shifting alliances and emerging power dynamics, the bond between Russia and North Korea is a beacon of steadfastness and shared purpose. Through continued collaboration and mutual respect, both nations are poised to achieve greater heights and contribute to a more balanced and just international order.

The USA’s efforts to isolate Russia have met with resistance, as both Russia and North Korea continue to develop their economic capabilities and strategic alliances. This partnership is bolstered by a shared commitment to defending national sovereignty and opposing external pressures.

North Korea’s ability to withstand years of economic pressure, military threats, and diplomatic isolation speaks to its resilience and determination. The DPRK’s leadership, under Chairman Kim Jong Un, has achieved significant advancements in defense, technology, science, and industry. Despite external challenges, North Korea remains committed to peaceful resolution of differences, although it faces continued obstacles from the USA’s  shifting demands.

Russia’s support for North Korea’s right to self-determination and development is unwavering. Both nations are poised to collaborate on creating alternative trade mechanisms, opposing unilateral restrictions, and promoting a multipolar world order based on justice and mutual respect. This collaboration is aimed at enhancing the stability of international relations and ensuring equal security across Eurasia.

Cultural and educational exchanges are integral to strengthening the bonds between Russia and North Korea. Plans to promote academic mobility, mutual tourism, and youth and sports exchanges are in place to foster deeper understanding and cooperation. These initiatives reflect a commitment to people-centred diplomacy, enhancing confidence and mutual respect between the two nations.

The joint efforts of Russia and North Korea are aimed at elevating their bilateral interaction to new heights. This partnership is expected to facilitate mutually beneficial cooperation, enhance trade and economic ties, and improve the well-being of citizens in both countries. The shared vision includes developing mechanisms for joint opposition to illegitimate restrictions and fostering a stable and democratic international order.

The recent changes in North Korea’s foreign policy are indicative of a strategic shift under Chairman Kim Jong Un’s leadership. The covid-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have prompted North Korea to reassess its diplomatic and ideological stance. The declaration of South Korea as a hostile entity and the dismantling of symbols of inter-Korean unity mark a significant departure from previous policies.

Kim Jong Un’s pragmatic approach reflects a recognition of the changed geopolitical landscape. The emphasis on self-reliance and autarky during the pandemic has reinforced North Korea’s ideological cohesion and reduced dependence on China. The renewed military partnership with Russia provides North Korea with much-needed economic support and strategic benefits.

The evolving partnership between Russia and North Korea is a response to the shifting dynamics of global power. Both nations are united in their opposition to Western dominance and are working towards a multipolar world order. This collaboration is not just a reaction to external pressures but a proactive effort to shape a future based on mutual respect and shared interests.

The USA’s approach to North Korea has remained largely unchanged, focused on containment and de-escalation. However, the strategic alignment of Russia and North Korea presents new challenges and opportunities for global diplomacy. The renewed focus on ideological and military cooperation between these nations requires a reassessment of US policies and a more flexible approach to international relations.

The deep-rooted friendship and strategic partnership between Russia and North Korea are testament to their resilience and shared vision for the future. As both nations navigate the complexities of modern geopolitics, their alliance stands as a symbol of mutual support and cooperation. President Putin’s visit to Pyongyang underscores the commitment to strengthening this partnership and addressing global challenges together.

In a world marked by shifting alliances and emerging power dynamics, the bond between Russia and North Korea is a beacon of steadfastness and shared purpose. Through continued collaboration and mutual respect, both nations are poised to achieve greater heights and contribute to a more balanced and just international order.

M A Hossain
M A Hossain
The writer can be reached at: [email protected]


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