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Tag: North Korea

Long live Kim Jong-un: how Russia helps the dictator thrive

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said there is an estimated 40,000 North Koreans working in Russia today, with some assessments indicating that this number will continue to grow. Human rights activists describe these workers as modern slaves, whose working conditions are harsh under the pressure to complete preparations for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Kim Jong-un's North Korea is now at the centre of international news with its nuclear tests and reported preparations for more missile launches. Last autumn Kim Jong-un promised to complete his nuclear programme, despite new sanctions imposed by the West. Russia’s Vladimir Putin has rejected US calls for new sanctions on Pyongyang, claiming that it would be a counter-productive “road to nowhere” and may trigger a “global catastrophe”. This statement could be interpreted as an act of solidarity with the North Korean regime, since Putin's friends and senior officials are also under western sanctions.

However, upon closer examination this is not the only explanation. One of the major proposals of the sanctions package against North Korea is to cut off sources of foreign currency, limiting its ability to continue developing its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes. This would signify a major shift for Moscow, as it would have to stop employing cheap North Korean labour.

January 2, 2018 - Artem Filatov

Pyongyang’s Russian sentiment

North Korea continues to play on a one man team as its nuclear tests only deepen the country’s isolation. South Korea, the United States and Japan are actively involved politically on the Korean peninsula but their goals rarely focus on issues other than international security. However, there are countries for which Kim Jong Un's regime is not only a target for international sanctions and criticism, but also an economic partner. China and Russia are part of that club. Paradoxically, maintaining good relations with Kim’s regime is important for Moscow as any potential dominance in Asia partly depends on Pyongyang’s support.

June 23, 2017 - Grzegorz Kaliszuk

The North Korean Embassy in Belarus. Diplomatic symbolism, economic horizons

Belarusian state media recently reported that the head of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry's Asia-Pacific Department, Andreya Grinkevicha, discussed opening a North Korean embassy in Minsk with an official from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea's foreign ministry. The North Korean official named as Oh Seung-ho was in Belarus on a working visit. The opening of an embassy was mentioned as part of a boarder plan for increased Belarus-North Korea cooperation.

September 27, 2016 - Anthony Rinna

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