Russia’s Support to North Korea’s Satellite Plan

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    Syllabus: GS3/ India & Foreign Relations, Effect of Policies & Politics of Developed & Developing Countries on India’s Interests

    In News

    • Russia & North Korea’s leaders met recently for the summit at the Vostochny Cosmodrome space station in Russia’s Far East.

    About the meeting highlights

    • As stated by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russia would help North Korea launch satellites.
    • North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said that Russia had his full backing in its “sacred fight” with the West.
    • The leaders would discuss issues about getting supplies from North Korea to replenish Moscow’s dwindling stock of weapons and ammunition.
    • Issues & challenges: U.S. and South Korean officials have expressed concern that North Korean leader could provide weapons and ammunition to Russia, which has expended vast stocks in more than 18 months of war in Ukraine.
      • Moscow and Pyongyang have denied such intentions.

    Significance 

    • Location of meet: The decision to meet at Vostochny Cosmodrome, a major satellite launch facility, may communicate what Kim Jong-un sees as the crucial next steps in his efforts to build a viable nuclear arsenal that could threaten the United States and its allies in Asia.
    • Violation of UN resolutions: If Russia does buy weapons from North Korea, it would be in violation of UN resolutions that ban all arms trade with the isolated country.
    • Ending isolation: North Korea’s economy has been crippled by the pandemic-era border closures and Kim may ask for supplies of food and energy to address shortfalls.
      • The meeting is a move on Kim’s part to deepen relations with Moscow and end his country’s years of isolation. 
    • North Korea’s failures in launching military spy satellite: Kim’s visit to Russia came after North Korea experienced repeated failures in recent months to put its first military spy satellite into orbit.
    • Increased threats of DPRK missiles: Kim has punctuated his testing activity with an escalatory nuclear doctrine that authorises his military to conduct preemptive nuclear attacks against enemies if it perceives Pyongyang’s leadership as under threat.
      • The UN Security Council imposed economic sanctions on North Korea over its previous satellite launches, seeing them as covers for long-range ballistic missile tests. 
      • Space-based reconnaissance capabilities would potentially enhance the threat posed by Kim’s missiles.
    About the Far East

    – It is the easternmost part of Russia
    – It borders two oceans, the Pacific and the Arctic, and five countries (China, Japan, Mongolia, the United States and the DPRK).
    1. DPRK is short for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, North Korea’s formal name.
    – The Far Eastern Federal District covers more than a third of the country’s territory.
    – It is rich in natural resources like diamonds, stannary, borax materials, 50 gold, tungsten, and fish and seafood. 
    – About 1/3 of all coal reserves and hydro-engineering resources of the country are here. 
    – Forests of the region comprise about 30% of the total forest area of Russia.

    India & Far East
    – In 2019 India announced a commitment to an “Act Far-East” policy. This policy is an important part of a special and privileged strategic partnership with Russia.
    – India has also made significant investments in the Russian far east in the fields of pharmaceuticals and diamonds.
    – India can also have cooperation in the mobility of talent. Indian talent has contributed to the development of many resource-rich regions of the world
    1. The talent and professionalism of Indians can bring about rapid development in the Russian Far East.

    India-Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Relations

    • Relations between India and DPR Korea have been generally characterised by friendship, cooperation and understanding
    • As members of the Non-Aligned Movement, there is a commonality of views between the two on many international issues, e.g. Disarmament, South-South Cooperation, etc. 
    • Both sides continue to work closely in international fora and support each other on various issues of bilateral and international interests
    • India and DPRK have been cooperating in the UN and other international organizations. 

    India’s Stand on issues of Korean peninsula

    • India had welcomed the North-South Joint Declaration of 15 June 2000 and favored reduction of tension on the Korean peninsula and reunification of the two Koreas through peaceful means and direct dialogue between them. 

    Source: TH