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How North Korea May Be the Real Winner of the Russia-Ukraine War: A Threat to Global Security

Daniel Kim Views  

Analysts suggest North Korea may be the real winner of the Russia-Ukraine war. Despite international sanctions over the past 20 years, North Korea has been importing parts from Western countries and supplying missiles to Russia, establishing a covert relationship.

On May 5, local time, the BBC reported that a recent analysis of North Korean missiles used by Russia in its attack on Ukraine revealed that North Korea illegally procured parts from the U.S. and Europe, manufactured those within a few months and delivered them to Russian front-line forces.

The Conflict Armament Research (CAR), a UK-based weapons monitoring group, analyzed the debris of a missile that fell in Kharkiv, Ukraine, in January and concluded that it was a Hwasong-11 ballistic missile from North Korea. The analysis and subsequent detailed reports revealed that most electronic components were made in the U.S. and Europe recently, including an American semiconductor manufactured in March last year.

The missile debris revealed 112, indicating 2023 in North Korean date notation. The BBC pointed out that this signifies that the entire process, from illegally procuring essential parts, assembling the missile domestically, secretly transporting it to Russia, and firing it at Ukraine from the front lines, was completed within a few months.

The media outlet also noted that while there are recent rumors of Kim Jong Un preparing for a nuclear war, a more immediate threat is North Korea’s ability to fuel the current war and escalate global unrest with its weapons manufacturing capability. Damien Spleeters, Deputy Director of CAR, expressed surprise at how North Korea, despite nearly 20 years of harsh sanctions, is still able to acquire everything it needs for weapons manufacturing at an impressive speed. Spleeters explained that from his experience, North Korea appears to be setting up shell companies in places like Hong Kong or Central Asian countries to procure weapons parts and send them to North Korea via the Chinese border.

North Korea revealed the Badasuri-6, an anti-ship missile, on February 14 last year. Korean Central News Agency·Yonhap News

Joseph Byrne, a North Korea expert and senior researcher at the UK think tank Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), stated, “I never thought I’d see North Korean ballistic missiles being used to kill people on European soil. These shells and rockets are the most in-demand in the world today,” adding, “We are witnessing in real time the collapse of the UN’s sanctions against North Korea, which is giving North Korea a lifeline.”

North Korea is understood to be receiving oil and food from Russia in exchange for supplying its independent weapons. This trade is expected to boost not only North Korea’s economy but also its military power. North Korea could receive missile materials or military equipment such as fighter jets from Russia, in extreme cases, there is even speculation that it could receive technical support for advancing nuclear weapons.

Byrne stated, “The real winner here is North Korea. They have supported Russia in important ways, and it’s had a big impact.” North Korea is also getting the opportunity to test its latest missiles in actual combat. They can use real-world test data to improve missile performance.

However, the BBC analysis pointed out a more significant issue: the war is providing North Korea with a window to export weapons to other countries. Dr. Lewis believes that North Korea, which is mass-producing these weapons, will want to sell to more countries. He also predicted that North Korea could become a major missile supplier among countries opposing the U.S., such as China, Russia, and Iran, if Russia demonstrates the case that it can effectively use North Korean weapons and that it’s okay to violate sanctions against North Korea.

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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