After a recent border skirmish between Russia and North Korean forces, the question on everyone’s mind is what happened to that supposed friendship?
It is safe to say, just like any geopolitical relationship, the Russian-Korean bilateral affairs is on thin ice.
The Skirmish from the Russian Point of View
First off, we need some facts:
- A North Korean fishing vessel was stopped by Russian border security.
- The North Koreans resisted inspection from the Russians.
- The Russians opened fire.
This resulted in the death of one of the 48 North Korean fisherman. According to the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), the KGB’s successor agency, the fisherman were acting erratically and failed to comply to orders from the border unit.
“During the search and control activities, [Russian border guards] found illegally-obtained water bio resources on board the vessel. The ship’s crew behaved aggressively towards members of the search group, refusing to comply with legal requirements,” the FSB said in a statement via coverage from RT, the federation’s state controlled media arm.
In efforts to flee, the fisherman tried to leave exclusive economic zones owned by Russia but in an effort to secure the violator vessel, border authorities popped off warning shots. The North Korean boat continued to execute maneuvers. Thus, after boarding the vessel, FSB personnel were attacked, ergo, leading to the fire fight between the Russian authorities and the fisherman. FSB comments on the matter indicate “one of the members of the search team sustained a head injury.”
The FSB also stated that the border agents rationalized shooting the Korean fisherman to prevent “obtaining weapons” from the border guards and further “harming them” any further.
“Nine crew members of the intruder-ship were injured, one of them later died,” the FSB stated.
FSB also indicated that DPRK diplomatic authorities stationed in the city of Vladivostok, Russia has been notified of the situation.
North’s State Media Silent
At an examination of the English page of the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the state owned media branch of Kim Jong Un’s government, there is no mention of fisherman dying.
Nevertheless, the KCNA is used as a propaganda tool and it shouldn’t be expected for the North Korean authorities would risk anything not to stifle the state-levied ignorance to reality the population morbidly suffers from.
In this case, the KCNA’s silence is expected.
Current Relations between North Korea and Russia: Game of Nukes
As aforementioned at the beginning of this report, will these border skirmish threaten relations between the Russians and the North Koreans. In a sense, I would have to say that the push back will be noticeable but the overall operating system in play for the authoritarian states’ foreign relations suggest otherwise.
Considering recent reports, Moscow supposedly allowed North Korean nuclear researchers to work and study in Russian facilities.
The report coming from a former United Nations Security Council staffer, may lend some connection to the North successfully testing ballistic missile technology.
The most recent account of Russian-North Korean diplomatic friendliness can be seen in a report from NK News, the west’s leading media authority on North Korea, that diplomatic staff from Russia saw an uptick at the Russian embassy in Pyongyang.
Russia, alongside China, has put the United States on blast for increasing sanctions and moving for a tighter missile defense on the orient because of North Korea’s rising nuclear power.
One Russian general even stated that “Russian military experts believe that the US hopes to gain the capability to strike any region of the world, including Russia and China, with nuclear-tipped missiles with impunity,” via The Australian.
American officials have indicated that such moves are directed only at North Koreans.
Regardless, I think you get the picture. There won’t be to many set backs between Russia and North Korea. Putin will continue to work with the Great Leader and move the last strong hold of Cold War era aggressivism closer to nuclear capability.
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