Sun. Jun 23rd, 2024

Are Russia and North Korea planning an ‘October surprise’ that aids Trump?

By 37ci3 May24,2024

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is increasingly worried strengthening the military alliance between the president of Russia Vladimir Putin and the leader of North Korea Kim Jong Un Six senior US officials told NBC News that it could greatly expand Pyongyang’s nuclear capabilities and raise tensions in the Asia-Pacific region.

US officials are also preparing for it North Korea Officials said the US would carry out potentially its most provocative military action in a decade, possibly at the urging of Putin.

As the Americans decide whether to send the president in, they say, the time may be set to wreak havoc elsewhere in the world. Joe Biden or former president Donald Trump Back to the White House.

“We have no doubt that North Korea will be provocative this year. It’s just about how tense the issue is,” said the US intelligence official.

North Korea says it has tested a new hypersonic medium-range missile that uses solid propellants
On April 2, the first test launch of North Korea’s new medium-range ballistic missile Hwasongpho-16B was carried out.KCNA/AFP – Getty Images file

US intelligence officials have accused Russia of meddling in the 2016 election to help elect Trump. The Biden administration has had strained relations with Russia since its 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

With Putin expected to visit North Korea in the coming weeks to meet with Kim, US officials expect him to cement a new deal to expand military technology transfers to Pyongyang.

“2024 is not going to be a good year,” said Victor Cha, senior vice president for Asia and Korea at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “It’s going to be a bit of a roller coaster.”

A developing alliance

US intelligence officials believe Putin is providing North Korea with nuclear submarines and ballistic missile technology in exchange for Pyongyang. It sends a large amount of ammunition to Russia High-ranking US officials said because of the war in Ukraine. North Korea supplies Russia with more ammunition than Europe supplies Ukraine, including millions of artillery shells.

Officials also worry that Russia could help North Korea take the final steps needed to launch its first nuclear-capable submarine.

North Korea in September presented a submarine, based on the old Soviet model, but US officials said Pyongyang was likely overstating its capabilities. The submarine still needs additional technology to deploy or launch a nuclear-armed missile, they said.

Officials said that the US has not engaged in meaningful dialogue with the Kim regime for three years, despite repeatedly offering to start talks without any conditions. The administration reached out to North Korea again this year, but received no response.

A Russian artillery unit fires a D-30 howitzer at Ukrainian positions on January 26, 2023.
A Russian artillery unit fires a D-30 howitzer at Ukrainian positions on January 26, 2023.RIA Novosti / Sputnik via AP

U.S. officials have said they don’t have a clear understanding of the types of technology Russia is providing to North Korea. Unlike arms transfers, which can be physically traced, the sharing of military technology is not so easily detected.

“Russia’s high-level technical assistance comes in forms that are really hard to trace,” said a senior administration official.

US officials have warned that North Korea’s munitions are likely to be old and unreliable. But North Korea sent its artillery at the same time as Ukraine struggles with resources and had to distribute ammunition, so the flow gave Russia the advantage on the battlefield.

North Korea wants Russia to provide ballistic missile parts, aircraft, missiles, armored vehicles and other advanced technology in exchange for the ammunition it provides to Moscow, the officials said.

In recent months, North Korea has continued to develop its missile program, including a solid propellant engine for a hypersonic rocket is being tested US officials warn that other incremental advances together make its missile program more reliable.

Pyongyang has long sought a long-range ballistic missile that can fly thousands of miles and then re-enter the atmosphere with a payload. US officials warn that Russia may now help it take the final steps. A nuclear-capable missile with survivable re-entry vehicles would pose a serious challenge to US missile defense systems.

U.S. officials also said activity at one of North Korea’s nuclear test sites has increased, which could indicate preparations for another test. Satellite images released in April by Beyond Parallel, a project investigating the Korean Peninsula at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, has been active in Tunnel 3 at the Punggye-ri nuclear facility.

The group said that “both the United States and South Korea have assessed North Korea as having completed all necessary preparations to conduct a seventh nuclear test through the tunnel.”

The Biden administration has been expecting a nuclear test from North Korea for some time. The US has recently drawn up contingency plans for how to respond if Kim takes aggressive steps in the demilitarized zone. South Korea or shelling South Korea’s border islands, something it hasn’t done since 2010.

“We will be ready and prepared,” said a senior administration official, noting the administration’s coordination with South Korea. Japan.

U.S. officials have expressed concern that Moscow could help North Korea produce indigenous weapons and even establish a defense industrial base partnership.

‘October surprise’?

A second senior administration official said Putin should encourage Kim to take provocative actions to create an October surprise in the U.S. presidential election. The official said Demonthere is this too approached Russia and Helped Putin wage war in Ukraineusually does not want instability in the region.

Still, U.S. officials admit there’s more to it than that Russia-North Korea alliance – and where it can go from here – they don’t know. Rising tensions in the Asia-Pacific region will come after two wars have erupted since Biden took office: one in Ukraine and the other two Israel and Hamas.

Trump claimed that both wars were the result of Biden’s leadership and would not have happened if he had been in office. Biden White House officials vehemently deny the claim.

The increasingly close relationship between Putin and Kim represents a major shift from when Russia worked with the United States in the past to contain North Korea. Now Moscow uses the right of veto to the UN Security Council Give Pyongyang cover to evade sanctions enforcement measures intended to limit the nuclear program.

“It’s a big change,” said a second senior administration official.

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