SEOUL – North Korea on Thursday rejected a US intelligence report That they sold millions of artillery shells and missiles to Russia, accusing the US of spreading a “reckless” rumor.
“We have never exported weapons or ammunition to Russia before and we have no plans to export them,” a senior North Korean defense ministry official said in a statement. Central Korea. “We warn the US to stop making reckless remarks.”
The news agency identified the official as the deputy director of the General Department of Equipment, but did not disclose the official’s name.
Earlier this month, US officials released newly declassified intelligence revealing what they see as a Russian attempt to buy North Korean weapons. Officials say the sale is a sign that sanctions have severely limited Russia’s supply chain and forced Moscow to turn to pariah states to provide military support for the war in Ukraine. .
North Korea is one of the few countries that has officially backed Russia’s invasion, blaming Washington for the conflict. It has also recognized the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine as independent.
Any deal to buy weapons from North Korea would violate many United Nations Security Council resolutions, meaning North Korea would be unable to raise funds for its nuclear weapons program. While the North Korean official denied such sales to Russia, he said his country is a sovereign state and therefore has the right to develop, export and import weapons.
“We have never recognized the UNSC’s illegal ‘sanctions resolution’ against D. North Korea is an abbreviation of North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Since the collapse of rare diplomatic relations between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and former President Donald J. Trump in 2019, North Korea has vowed to expand its nuclear and missile arsenals. . “At the fastest possible speed.” It also adopts a more active nuclear doctrineThis month, legislate the conditions under which it says it can conduct pre-emptive nuclear strikes.
But the development of nuclear weapons also puts the country in economic peril. The United Nations has banned all of North Korea’s major exports – including coal, iron ore, fish and textiles – since 2017, leaving the country increasingly short of cash.
Its export has decreased further during the coronavirus pandemic, forcing the country to diversify its illegal ways to raise cash, including Cryptocurrency theft. According to United Nations investigators, arms sales to countries like Iran have long been an illegal source of cash for the regime.
In recent months, both the United States and South Korean officials have released intelligence confirming that North Korea is ready to restart nuclear weapons tests after a five-year hiatus. No such test has occurred, but some analysts in South Korea suggest that North Korea may have stopped short to avoid provoking China, a US adversary that Pyongyang desperately needs economic help with.