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China, US concerned by Russia, North Korea partnership: Retired general

(NewsNation) — Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signed a partnership deal Wednesday that includes a vow of mutual aid if either country is attacked.

Putin made the announcement while visiting North Korea for the first time in 24 years.

The deal, which the leaders said covered areas including security, trade, investment, and cultural and humanitarian ties, could mark the strongest connection between Moscow and Pyongyang since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. Both leaders described it as a major upgrade of their ties.

U.S. leaders told NewsNation that while they aren’t too concerned, they have been monitoring the talks.

The summit came as the U.S. and its allies express growing concerns over an arms arrangement in which the country provides Moscow with badly needed munitions for its war in Ukraine in exchange for economic assistance and technology transfers that could enhance the threat posed by Kim’s nuclear weapons and missile program.

Retired Gen. Philip Breedlove told NewsNation that both the U.S. and China don’t want Kim to have access to nuclear weapons, which this new agreement could pose a threat.

What do both countries have to gain?

Kim said that the deal was the “strongest ever treaty” between the two nations, putting the relationship at the level of an alliance, and vowed full support for Russia’s war in Ukraine. Putin said it was a “breakthough document” reflecting a shared desire to move relations to a higher level.

“Well, for one, North Korea gets a big lift, and it’s sort of a world standing in their mind,” Breedlove said. “They have a world superpower leader coming to visit them and their country. And this is a big deal.”

North Korea has been under heavy U.N. Security Council sanctions over its weapons program, while Russia also faces sanctions by the States and its Western partners over its aggression in Ukraine.

U.S. and South Korean officials accuse the North of providing Russia with artillery, missiles and other military equipment for use in Ukraine, possibly in return for key military technologies and aid. Both Pyongyang and Moscow deny accusations about North Korean weapons transfers, which would violate multiple U.N. Security Council sanctions that Russia previously endorsed.

What about China?

Along with China, Russia has provided political cover for Kim’s continuing efforts to advance his nuclear arsenal, repeatedly blocking U.S.-led efforts to impose fresh U.N. sanctions on the North over its weapons tests.

China considered North Korea to be under their supervision and guardianship, Breedlove said. He explained that China is most concerned about North Korea becoming too boisterous with nuclear exchange, saying President Xi Jinping doesn’t want Kim on his borders with that type of arsenal.

With the renewed, stronger relationship between Russia and North Korea, China will question the quid pro quo. China will likely be concerned about whether Putin will aid Kim’s nuclear program, which Xi wants to keep strong control over, Breedlove said.

“I think China is very concerned about these talks that are not under their purview or supervision,” Breedlove said. “China doesn’t want a boisterous nuclear power on their border.”

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