Military

North Korean Military Elite Conduct Training in Russia Amid Strengthened Relations

Published On Tue, 09 Jul 2024
Arjun Mehta
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North Korea's state media reported on July 9 that a delegation of elite military officials has departed for Russia, marking the first military exchange between the two nations since their leaders signed a pact promising closer military cooperation. The delegation, led by Kim Geum-chol, the president of Kim Il-sung Military University, departed by plane on July 8, as per KCNA state news agency. The purpose and specific location of their visit in Russia were not disclosed.
Kim Il-sung Military University, named after North Korea's state founder, serves as a training ground for elite military officers, including the country's leader Kim Jong-un, who attended the university after studying in Switzerland in preparation for becoming North Korea's third leader. This military exchange follows a series of high-level visits between North Korea and Russia over the past year, culminating in Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Pyongyang in June. During their summit, Putin and Kim signed a treaty establishing a "Comprehensive Strategic Partnership" that included a mutual defense agreement characterized by Kim as forming an alliance.
The visible deepening of military ties between the two countries has raised concerns in Seoul and Washington, with officials citing evidence suggesting North Korean weapons shipments to Russia for potential use against Ukraine, and suspicions that Pyongyang might be receiving undisclosed assistance from Moscow. Both North Korea and Russia deny engaging in any arms transactions.
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, attending a NATO summit in Washington this week, cautioned Moscow about potential negative implications on the previously active economic relationship between South Korea and Russia resulting from its strengthening ties with Pyongyang.
Disclaimer: This image is taken from Reuters.
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