North Korea denied selling arms to Russia on Thursday, calling the reports “reckless rumours” and warning the United States to “keep your mouth shut”, state media said Thursday. File photo by KCNA/UPI | License picture
SEOUL, Sept. 22 (UPI) — North Korea denied reports that it sold rockets and artillery to Russia and warned the United States “to shut up”, state media reported Thursday.
“We have never exported weapons or ammunition to Russia before and we do not plan to export any,” an unnamed defense official said in a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency.
“It is unclear where the rumor that the United States is spreading comes from, but it is aimed at tarnishing the image of the DPRK,” the official said.
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is the official name of North Korea.
A US State Department spokesman said earlier this month that Russia was “purchasing millions of rockets and artillery shells from North Korea for use in Ukraine.”
“This purchase indicates that the Russian military continues to suffer from severe supply shortages due in part to export controls and sanctions,” spokesman Vedant Patel said. said during a press briefing.
Patel added that any sale would be a violation of UN Security Council sanctions, which bar UN member states from procuring all arms and related materiel from North Korea.
White House National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby later told reporters that the arms deal was still a “potential purchase”.
Reports that Russia has also turned to Iran for military assistance were reinforced last week when British Defense Intelligence said that Moscow had “most likely deployed” Iranian-made drones in Ukraine.
In its statement Thursday, North Korea defended its right to sell arms and said it was not respecting Security Council sanctions.
“Not only the development, production, possession of military equipment, but also their export and import are the legitimate right of a sovereign state, and no one has the right to criticize it,” the official said. “We have never recognized the illegal UNSC ‘sanctions resolution’ against the DPRK, which was concocted by the United States and its vassal forces.”
“We warn the United States to stop making reckless remarks about the DPRK and shut up,” he added.
Pyongyang’s relations with Moscow, which cooled in the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, have recently picked up.
North Korea has publicly expressed support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, blaming NATO expansion and US “hegemonic politics” for creating the crisis.
In July, the secretive regime also became one of the few governments to officially recognize the breakaway Russian-backed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk in eastern Ukraine. Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un exchanged personal lettersboth parties promising to strengthen ties.
Russia joined China in vetoing a US-led UN Security Council resolution to impose additional sanctions on North Korea in May, further underscoring a growing geopolitical divide. .