North Korea, Russia Sign Pact to Give All Available Military Help if Other is Attacked

Russia's President Vladimir Putin and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un pose for a photo during a signing ceremony following bilateral talks in Pyongyang, North Korea June 19, 2024. Sputnik/Kristina Kormilitsyna/Kremlin via REUTERS
Russia's President Vladimir Putin and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un pose for a photo during a signing ceremony following bilateral talks in Pyongyang, North Korea June 19, 2024. Sputnik/Kristina Kormilitsyna/Kremlin via REUTERS
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North Korea, Russia Sign Pact to Give All Available Military Help if Other is Attacked

Russia's President Vladimir Putin and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un pose for a photo during a signing ceremony following bilateral talks in Pyongyang, North Korea June 19, 2024. Sputnik/Kristina Kormilitsyna/Kremlin via REUTERS
Russia's President Vladimir Putin and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un pose for a photo during a signing ceremony following bilateral talks in Pyongyang, North Korea June 19, 2024. Sputnik/Kristina Kormilitsyna/Kremlin via REUTERS

North Korea and Russia agreed to provide immediate military assistance if either faced armed aggression, under a pact their leaders signed during Russian President Vladimir Putin's first visit in 24 years.
The pledge is seen as the revival of a mutual defense agreement under a 1961 treaty adopted by the Cold War allies that was annulled in 1990 when the Soviet Union established diplomatic ties with South Korea, Reuters said.
The agreement for a "comprehensive strategic partnership" signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Wednesday is one of the highest-profile moves in Asia by Moscow in years.
"If either side faces an armed invasion and is in a state of war, the other side will immediately use all available means to provide military and other assistance in accordance with Article 51 of the UN Charter and the laws of each country," Article 4 of the agreement says.
Article 51 of the UN Charter provides for the right of a member country to take individual or collective self-defense actions.
The pledge by the leaders of the two countries, which are facing increasing international isolation, comes amid growing concern among the United States and its Asian allies over how much Russia would support North Korea, the only country to have tested a nuclear weapon this century.
Kim echoed Putin's statement explicitly linking their deepening ties to fighting the "hegemonic and imperialist" policies of the West and the United State in particular, including its support for Ukraine.
The agreement also said neither side would sign any treaty with a third country that infringes on the interests of the other and will not allow its territory to be used by any country to harm the other's security and sovereignty, KCNA said.
The two countries will take joint actions aimed at "strengthening defense capabilities to prevent war and ensure regional and international peace and security", it said.
South Korea and the White House did not immediately have comment on the reported content of the agreement.
Japan expressed "grave concerns" about Putin's vow not to rule out cooperation with Pyongyang on military technology.
The reaction from China, the North's main political and economic benefactor, has been muted.
Washington and Seoul have been increasingly alarmed by deepening military cooperation between Russia and the North, and have accused the two of violating international laws by trading in arms for use in Moscow's war against Ukraine. Ukrainian officials have said they have found North Korean missile debris inside their country.
Russia and North Korea deny any arms trade.
Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak said Russia, a UN Security Council permanent member, has allowed "the most brazen nullification" of all sanctions imposed on North Korea to stop its weapons development.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the pact showed authoritarian powers are aligning.
On his first visit to Pyongyang since 2000, Putin thanked Kim for the support for Russian policy, and Kim reaffirmed "unconditional" and unwavering support for "all of Russia's policies" including Putin's war with Ukraine.
KCNA on Thursday released the full text of the agreement, which also included cooperation on nuclear energy, space exploration, food and energy security.
Cha Du Hyeogn, a former South Korean government official who is now a fellow at Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul, said the mutual defense pledge is similar to the one in the 1961 treaty between the North and the Soviet Union.
But the reference to the UN Charter and each country's laws is open for interpretation and it was not clear whether the agreement would constitute an alliance, he said.
"It comes from Kim wanting to put everything in for this agreement, while Putin is being reluctant to do so," Cha said.



Azerbaijan Proposes Document on Principles of Peace before Full Deal with Armenia

FILE PHOTO: Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev delivers a speech at the 10th Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council Ministerial Meeting and the 2nd Green Energy Advisory Council Ministerial Meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan, March 1, 2024. REUTERS/Aziz Karimov/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev delivers a speech at the 10th Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council Ministerial Meeting and the 2nd Green Energy Advisory Council Ministerial Meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan, March 1, 2024. REUTERS/Aziz Karimov/File Photo
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Azerbaijan Proposes Document on Principles of Peace before Full Deal with Armenia

FILE PHOTO: Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev delivers a speech at the 10th Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council Ministerial Meeting and the 2nd Green Energy Advisory Council Ministerial Meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan, March 1, 2024. REUTERS/Aziz Karimov/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev delivers a speech at the 10th Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council Ministerial Meeting and the 2nd Green Energy Advisory Council Ministerial Meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan, March 1, 2024. REUTERS/Aziz Karimov/File Photo

Azerbaijan is proposing to sign a document with Armenia on the basic principles of a future peace treaty as an interim measure as they wrangle over a broader deal, a senior Azerbaijani official said on Sunday.
Both Armenia and Azerbaijan have repeatedly said they want to sign a peace treaty to end the conflict over the former breakaway Azerbaijani region of Nagorno-Karabakh, reported Reuters.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said on Saturday a text of a treaty was 80%-90% ready but repeated it was impossible to sign it before Armenia amended its constitution to remove an indirect reference to Karabakh independence, which Armenia has rejected.
Karabakh's ethnic Armenian inhabitants enjoyed de facto independence from Azerbaijan for more than three decades until September 2023, when a lightning Azerbaijani offensive retook the territory and prompted around 100,000 Armenians to flee.
Both countries have in recent months sought to make progress on the peace treaty, including the demarcation of borders, with Armenia agreeing to hand over to Azerbaijan four contested border villages.
A document on the basic principles could be considered as a temporary measure and form the basis of the bilateral ties and ensure neighborly relations between the two countries, Hikmet Hajiyev, foreign policy adviser to the president, told Reuters.
It can be signed until Azerbaijan holds COP29 climate summit in November, Hajiyev added.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said in June that a peace treaty with Azerbaijan was close to completion but that his country would not accept its demands that it change its constitution.
After he made those comments, clashes broke out between police and demonstrators, the latest in a series of protests denouncing his policies, including the handing back of ruined villages to Azerbaijan, and demanding his resignation.
On July 5, Constitution Day in Armenia, Pashinyan said the country needed a new constitution "which the people will consider to be what they created, what they accepted, what is written in it is their idea of the state they created and the relations between people and citizens in that state".