North Korea probably wants to sell weapons to Russia for the war against Ukraine to boost the country's "cash-starved" and stagnant economy. This is reported by Bloomberg.
According to the Bank of Korea in Seoul, which conducts regular assessments of the DPRK's prospects, the North Korean economy failed to grow in 2021, and its prospects for 2022 were uncertain. According to the publication, the only thing that dictator Kim Jong-un "has in excess" is weapons, in particular 20th-century artillery, which is used by Russia in the war against Ukraine. According to estimates by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the North Korean arsenal has more than 21,600 artillery pieces.
"North Korea would jump at the chance to get rid of its aging stockpile of old munitions at a significant markup," said weapons expert Jost Olimans, adding that the North Korean regime has built "numerous" older towed artillery designs that are compatible with some.
According to him, among the weapons that Pyongyang possesses, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin is probably interested in 122 mm and 152 mm artillery shells, as well as 122 mm rockets. Olymans said that a few years ago, the price of 122 mm rockets was about $6,000 and noted that it is difficult to find out the prices of goods that the DPRK might send.
The expert noted that the arms supply agreement could cost "hundreds of millions of dollars", so for Russia "it would be advisable to first purchase smaller batches and evaluate their quality and effectiveness before making a large purchase." Ollimans said the payments, totaling less than $320 million, could add 1 percent to North Korea's GDP.
According to the publication, any sale of weapons would mean a change of roles between the neighbors, as North Korea has relied on the weapons of the Soviet Union for decades. According to UN resolutions, Pyongyang is prohibited from selling weapons, although according to the US Defense Intelligence Agency, the country sells them to countries such as Iran, Syria and Uganda.
"There are both economic and political incentives for supplying Russia with weapons from North Korea, and they may be interconnected. North Korea's need for hard currency is the most obvious economic reason, but Pyongyang can take compensation in other ways, including fuel supplies." , - said Rand Corp. associate political scientist. Naoko Aoki.
In addition to cash, Pyongyang could also ask for debt relief and possibly technology transfers, according to Victor Cha, senior vice president of the Center for Strategic & International Studies think tank. Most of North Korea's ballistic missile arsenal is believed to be based on Russian designs, such as the Iskander missiles, which Moscow regularly launches at Ukrainian targets.
North Korea sees the war in Ukraine as an opportunity to get closer to Russia, so it uses its need for ammunition for this purpose," concluded Cha, a former US representative at the six-nation nuclear talks with Pyongyang.
North Korea on Sunday (January 29) denied providing weapons to Moscow after the United States said the nuclear-armed state had supplied missiles to Russia's Wagner mercenaries.