South Korea, US and Japan condemn North Korea's alleged arms supply to Russia.

South Korea, the United States, and Japan have strongly criticized North Korea for allegedly supplying ammunition and military equipment to Russia, which they believe is exacerbating the casualties in Russia’s war in Ukraine. This joint statement by high-ranking diplomats from the three countries follows Russia’s foreign minister’s dismissal of recent U.S. claims regarding munitions from North Korea. He argued that Washington hadn’t provided sufficient evidence to support the accusation.

In their statement, South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa expressed their commitment to collaborating with the international community to uncover Russia’s efforts to acquire military hardware from North Korea. They have confirmed that several such arms deliveries have already taken place, and they fear these shipments will significantly increase the human toll of Russia’s aggressive war.

This joint statement emphasizes the determination of these three nations to actively address the arms transfer agreement between Russia and North Korea, despite repeated warnings from the international community, according to South Korean Foreign Affairs spokesperson Lim Soosuk.

North Korea and Russia, both involved in separate disputes with the United States and its allies, have recently been enhancing their military ties. There has been speculation that North Korea might be supplying conventional weapons to Russia to replenish their depleted weapon stockpiles. The United States, South Korea, and other countries suspect that North Korea is seeking advanced weapons technologies from Russia in exchange for providing munitions.

During his visit to Pyongyang, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov lauded North Korea’s unwavering support for Russia’s war in Ukraine. Upon his return to Moscow, Lavrov rejected the U.S. accusation of North Korean arms transfers, stating that “the Americans continue to accuse everyone.” He declined to comment on rumors.

Earlier this month, the White House reported that North Korea had delivered over 1,000 containers of military hardware and ammunition to Russia. They released images showing these containers loaded onto a Russian-flagged ship before being transported by train to southwestern Russia.

In their statement, Seoul, Washington, and Tokyo noted their close monitoring of any materials provided by Russia to North Korea in support of North Korea’s military objectives. They expressed deep concern about the possibility of transferring nuclear or ballistic missile-related technology to North Korea, emphasizing that such arms transfers to or from North Korea would contravene UN Security Council resolutions, which Russia, as a permanent Security Council member, has previously endorsed.

In the past year, North Korea has conducted more than 100 missile tests, some simulating nuclear attacks on South Korea and the United States. Experts believe that Russia’s supply of high-tech weapons technology could help North Korea develop more reliable nuclear weapon systems. Among the military assets North Korea hopes to create with Russian assistance are spy satellites.

North Korea has attempted to launch a spy satellite into orbit on two occasions recently, but both attempts failed due to technical issues. North Korea has pledged to make a third attempt in October. However, South Korea’s Unification Ministry reported that there have been no signs of an imminent launch at North Korea’s primary launch facility.

In response to North Korea’s growing nuclear capabilities, the U.S. and South Korea have expanded their regular military exercises and reintroduced some trilateral training involving Japan. Earlier this week, the South Korean, U.S., and Japanese militaries held their first joint air exercise near the Korean Peninsula. Additionally, the South Korean navy conducted a large-scale maritime exercise off the western coast of the Korean Peninsula as part of their annual military training.