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Russian Ambassador, ‘DPRK-China-Russia joint training is appropriate’

Russian Ambassador, ‘DPRK-China-Russia joint training is appropriate’

Posted September. 05, 2023 08:22,   

Updated September. 05, 2023 08:22


Russian Ambassador to North Korea Alexander Matsegora said in an interview with TASS on Friday that the idea of including North Korea in the joint military exercises between Russia and China “seems quite appropriate.” Although Ambassador Matsegora said it was a “purely personal idea,” he raised the need for a trilateral joint drill between North Korea, China, and Russia. North Korea has never participated in joint China-Russia exercises since the mid-2000s. Previously, South Korea's National Intelligence Service reported to the National Assembly that it believed that Russia had offered North Korea to join the joint exercises.

The DPRK-China-Russia joint drills seem to be at the stage of proposal toward North Korea that Russia hopes for. However, it is true that the possibility of its realization is not remote. Russia, mired in a seemingly endless war of attrition in Ukraine, is in desperate need of military aid from China and North Korea. However, since China is refusing direct military aid, Russia has no choice but to dwell on North Korea, and North Korea is seeing it as an opportunity to escape from isolation and poverty. Circumstances in which North Korean ammunition has already secretly found its way to Russia have been detected in various places, and since the Russian Defense Minister attended the military parade in North Korea at the end of July, the South Korean and U.S. authorities believe that North Korea and Russia have initiated a phase of negotiating specific implementation details by holding high-level exchanges.

Whether such bilateral military cooperation extends to trilateral joint exercises will depend on how accommodating China is to that opinion. As the war in Ukraine becomes more protracted and strategic competition between the U.S. and China intensifies, the possibility of it becoming a reality will only increase. If North Korea is included in the China-Russia joint training, a trilateral alliance of dictatorships challenging the liberal international order, especially the DPRK-China-Russia trilateral system against the ROK-US-Japan trilateral cooperation in East Asia, will emerge, forcing Korea to be at the forefront of the very confrontation.

Recently, Russia is said to have been sending warning messages to the South Korean government, displaying its discomfort with the closer relationship developed between the three countries since the Camp David summit between Korea, the U.S., and Japan on August 18. It is questionable whether Russia, which violates the sovereignty of its neighbors and turns a blind eye to North Korea's illegal provocations, has the right to do so, but in the harsh international reality, we cannot rely solely on the cooperation mechanism between the three countries. We need to make special preparations to prevent immediate potential damage to our people and businesses and devise meticulous diplomatic strategies to deal with the risk of ideological confrontation, including more sophisticated North Korean nuclear threats.