North Korea and Russia have reaffirmed their strategic alignment against the US and its allies, following Pyongyang’s latest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test on December 18, 2023.
The test, which was personally supervised by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, demonstrated the country’s ability to strike any target in the US mainland with a nuclear warhead.
What are the motives of North Korea and Russia?
North Korea and Russia have a common interest in challenging the US-led international order and undermining the security and stability of the Asia-Pacific region. North Korea and Russia have also a common resentment against the US and its allies, who have imposed sanctions and pressure on them over their nuclear and missile programs, human rights violations, and military interventions.
North Korea’s motive for developing nuclear weapons and ICBMs is to deter the US from attacking or invading the country, and to secure its regime survival and legitimacy. North Korea also seeks to gain leverage and recognition in the international arena, and to force the US and its allies to accept its status as a nuclear power and to negotiate a peace treaty to end the Korean War.
Russia’s motive for supporting North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs is to weaken the US influence and presence in the region, and to create a strategic distraction and diversion for the US and its allies, who are also concerned about Russia’s aggression and expansion in Europe and the Middle East.
Russia also seeks to exploit North Korea’s nuclear and missile capabilities as a bargaining chip and a source of revenue, by providing technical assistance, diplomatic protection, and economic aid to Pyongyang.
What are the implications for the US and its allies?
North Korea and Russia’s alignment poses a serious threat to the US and its allies, especially South Korea and Japan, who are within the range of North Korea’s conventional and nuclear weapons. North Korea and Russia’s alignment also complicates the efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula and to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue peacefully and diplomatically.
The US and its allies have condemned North Korea’s latest ICBM test as a violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions and a provocation that threatens the peace and security of the region and the world. The US and its allies have also called for the full and strict implementation of the existing sanctions on North Korea, and have vowed to take additional measures to counter North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats.
The US and its allies have also expressed their concern and dissatisfaction over Russia’s role and stance on the North Korean nuclear issue, accusing Moscow of enabling and abetting Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile activities, and of undermining the international pressure and solidarity against North Korea.
The US and its allies have also urged Russia to play a constructive and responsible role in the region, and to cooperate with the international community to achieve the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of North Korea.