North Korea and Russia join hands; this comes after Putin’s visit to North Korea

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, revived a Cold War-era mutual defense pledge on Wednesday by signing a new agreement obligating them to assist each other in the event of “aggression” against either country.

In a briefing following the signing, President Putin did not clarify whether this assistance would necessitate immediate and full-fledged military intervention, as specified in the now-defunct 1961 treaty. However, he indicated that Russia “does not exclude the development of military-technical cooperation” with North Korea under the new agreement.

This pact is one of the most tangible rewards Mr. Kim has secured from Moscow in exchange for the dozens of ballistic missiles and over 11,000 shipping containers of munitions that Washington claims North Korea has provided to support Mr. Putin’s war in Ukraine.

It also marks the Kremlin’s most significant show of support for North Korea in years, following a period of collaboration with the United States at the United Nations to curb Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs—a stance that shifted notably after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Mr. Putin emphasized the importance of the new agreement, calling it a “truly breakthrough document” that reflects the two countries’ desire to elevate their relations to a new level. Neither North Korea nor Russia immediately released the text of the new agreement.

Denouncing the United States for expanding military infrastructure in the region and conducting drills with South Korea and Japan, Mr. Putin rejected claims that North Korea is to blame for the deteriorating security situation, despite its six nuclear test explosions since 2006 and tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States.

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