North Korea Responds to Allegations of Arms Sales to Russia
A military official has denied Washington’s accusations that Pyongyang is seeking to sell weapons to Moscow
North Korea has said it has no plans to sell arms to Russia, calling the assertion a « conspiracy theory » after US officials alleged an upcoming deal involving « millions » artillery shells and rockets.
Pyongyang’s Defense Ministry issued a statement on Wednesday in response to the allegations, saying that while it did not accept United Nations sanctions banning all arms sales by North Korea, it had no no longer intend to transfer arms to Russia.
« We have never exported weapons or ammunition to Russia in the past, and we have no intention of doing so in the future, » said an unnamed military official, quoted in state media, adding « We strongly condemn and sternly warn the United States to stop recklessly spreading anti-DPRK conspiracy theories in order to pursue cruel political and military atrocities. »
First noted in a New York Times report citing « downgraded » US intelligence documents, the alleged arms deal was later given official credibility by State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel, who told reporters that Russia « is buying millions of rockets and artillery shells from North Korea for use in Ukraine » earlier this month.
However, the White House backed down soon after, with National Security Council spokesman John Kirby saying there was « no indication that this purchase has been finalized and certainly no indication that these weapons are in use inside Ukraine. »
Moscow’s UN envoy, Vassily Nebenzia, previously dismissed the complaint as « another fake circulating. »
Pyongyang’s alleged arms sale mirrors similar claims by US officials about an upcoming transfer of drones from Iran to Russia. Just over two weeks after National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Washington had clear evidence that Iran was preparing to hand over « several hundred » Armed UAVs to Russia, Kirby again clarified that the United States had “saw no indication of any delivery and/or purchase of Iranian drones by the Russian Defense Ministry.” Tehran initially denied any plans to share drone technology with Moscow, although the Pentagon continued to claim sales were taking place, alleging a « first expedition » of drones at the end of August.
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