Vladimir Putin humiliated as North Korea agreement exposes leader’s ‘crucial weakness’ | World | News

Vladimir Putin‘s recent visit to North Korea has inadvertently unveiled a key weakness in the Russian President’s status, according to a military expert.

Putin met with fellow rogue leader Kim Jong-un to strengthen their countries’ alliance and sign a new agreement on mutual military assistance.

But Atlantic Council senior advisor Dr Harlan Ullman has warned the meeting was a “sign of great weakness” for Putin.

Dr Ullman argued the Russian president’s decision to head to Pyongyang instead of having Kim Jong-un join him in Moscow was the first in a series of significant blunders.

Writing for The Hill, the expert noted the move highlighted a “crucial reality,” adding: “To fight in Ukraine, Russia is dependent on Kim’s largesse. That is stunning.”

He also questioned the reaction from China, a pivotal ally of Moscow with a controversial relationship with Pyongyang.

Dr Ullman wrote: “What was Beijing’s reaction? Beijing considers North Korea to be a boil under its geographic armpit that could burst.

“China views Kim as unpredictable, and his possession of nuclear weapons is not reassuring, but indeed frightening. This is not the equivalent of the British and French nuclear weapons, which are tightly aligned with the US and NATO.”

He then questioned the impact of a long-term alliance with North Korea, noting that Kim may not be able to sustain the demands of a deal with a superpower like Russia.

He added: “Third, what happens when Pyongyang lacks the long-term ability to persist as an armaments provider? If the war in Ukraine has not been resolved, where does Moscow go next? This is not a trivial problem.”

The new agreement with Pyongyang marked the strongest link between Moscow and Pyongyang since the end of the Cold War.

Kim said it raised bilateral relations to the level of an alliance, while Putin was more cautious, noting the pledge of mutual military assistance mirrored a 1961 treaty between the Soviet Union and North Korea.

That agreement was discarded after the Soviet collapse and replaced with a weaker one in 2000 when Putin first visited Pyongyang.

South Korea responded by declaring it would consider sending arms to Ukraine in a major policy change for Seoul.

Putin insisted Seoul has nothing to worry about since the pact only envisions military assistance in case of aggression and should act as a deterrent to prevent a conflict.

He strongly warned South Korea against providing lethal weapons to Ukraine, saying it would be a “very big mistake.”

Putin said: “If that happens, then we will also make corresponding decisions that will hardly please the current leadership of South Korea.”

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