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According to South Korea, Russia has likely suggested that North Korea participate in tripartite naval exercises with China

  • South Korea’s top spy service said on September 4, 2023 that North Korea was likely asked by Russia to participate in three-man naval exercises in China.
  • North Korea’s ruler Kim Jong Un has invited the Russian defense minister to a large military parade in Pyongyang.
  • President Vladimir Putin has asked other countries for support in the war with Ukraine.

Russia has likely suggested that North Korea participate in tripartite naval exercises with China, according to an MP who attended a closed-door briefing with the director of South Korea’s top spy service on Monday.

The briefing came days after Russia’s ambassador to North Korea, Alexander Matsegora, told Russian media that North Korea’s involvement in joint Russia-China military exercises “appears appropriate”. According to Russian news agency Tass, Matsegora added that this was his own view and that he was not aware of any preparations.

When South Korean Intelligence Director Kim Kyou-hyun was asked about the possibility of such drills, MP Yoo Sang-bum said Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu likely suggested holding trilateral naval drills with North Korea and China at a meeting with North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un in July.

North Korea-Russia arms deal “actively moving forward,” says National Security Council

Kim Jong Un invited Shoigu to a major military parade in Pyongyang in July while pledging to expand military cooperation with Moscow. US officials say that could also include North Korean supplies of artillery and other munitions, while Russian President Vladimir Putin is asking other countries for support in his war against Ukraine. Last week, the White House said Kim and Putin exchanged letters as Moscow searched for Pyongyang for more ammunition.

North Korea leader

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (right) and Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (left) clink glasses in the banquet hall of the ruling Workers’ Party headquarters in Pyongyang, North Korea, July 27, 2023. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, file)

Amid mounting nuclear tensions with Washington, Seoul and Tokyo, Kim Jong Un is trying to increase the visibility of his partnerships with Moscow and Beijing in a bid to break out of diplomatic isolation and make Pyongyang part of a united front against United States.


Diplomacy between Pyongyang and Washington has stalled since 2019 over disagreements over crippling US sanctions on North Korea and the North’s failed moves to end its nuclear weapons and missile programs.

In the briefing, service director Kim Kyou-hyun also said that North Korea’s recent testing activities indicate that its warplanes rely heavily on its tactical nuclear systems as its goal is to ensure a quick victory over the South should war break out gain, otherwise the country would be sick. According to Lawmaker Yoo, the equipped military would struggle to handle a prolonged war.


Kim used international attention to Russia’s war on Ukraine to ramp up his arms demonstrations, which have included more than 100 rocket launches since early 2022. Kim’s test streak has been punctuated by verbal threats of pre-emptive nuclear strikes against South Korea and other rivals if the North perceives its leadership as threatened.

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