Is Russia Friendly With North Korea


Russia has a long history of close ties with North Korea. This began during the Cold War when the Soviet Union provided aid and support to the newly established Communist nation. Since then, Russia has continued to extend its economic and military backing to North Korea. Russia has traditionally been one of the largest supporters of the hermit state, providing economic aid, technology, military hardware, and in some cases diplomatic ties. In recent years, the two countries have become increasingly close with the two nations signing numerous agreements on economic and political cooperation.

Diplomatic Ties

The Russian government has been supportive of North Korean diplomatic efforts and has engaged in diplomatic dialogue with the hermit state. In 2016, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as part of an effort to strengthen ties between the two countries. The two nations have also continued to sign numerous joint agreements, many of which are designed to expand economic and security cooperation. Additionally, Russia has invited North Korean officials to attend meetings of the Primo Putin-Kim International Cooperation Forum in 2017.

Trade Relations

Russia and North Korea also maintain strong trade relations. As of 2020, Russia is the third-largest trading partner of the hermit state, accounting for nearly 17% of North Korean exports. In terms of imports, Russia accounts for about 4% of North Korean imports. The two nations also have a free trade agreement, which is intended to further strengthen economic ties between them. Additionally, the two countries have several joint projects in the energy sector that are being developed to increase energy cooperation between them.

Military Cooperation

Russia and North Korea have maintained close military ties over the years. Russia has provided the hermit state with considerable military aid and has also helped to modernize its military forces. Additionally, the two countries have conducted joint military exercises and have reportedly discussed further cooperation in the defense sector. These joint efforts have further cemented the strong military alliance between the two nations.

Humanitarian Cooperation

Russia and North Korea also have a strong humanitarian partnership. Russia provides the hermit state with humanitarian aid to assist with poverty relief, health care, education, and other social services. Additionally, the two countries have signed joint agreements to develop health and education infrastructure in North Korea. This partnership has strengthened the long-standing relationship between the two countries and has made significant strides towards improving the quality of life for North Koreans.


Overall, it is clear that Russia and North Korea have a long-standing and close relationship. From the diplomatic ties to the trade relations and military cooperation, the two countries have made significant progress over the years in strengthening their ties and expanding cooperation between them. This has ensured that the two nations remain closely linked and committed to working together in the future.

Weaponization of North Korea

Despite their close relationship, Russia and North Korea have faced some tensions. One of the primary issues has been North Korea’s continued pursuit of developing nuclear weapons. Russia has publicly expressed its opposition to this development and has called for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. This disagreement has strained the relationship between the two nations but has not resulted in any significant disruption in their close ties.

Human Rights Abuses

Another issue that has presented a challenge to the relationship between the two countries is North Korea’s persistent human rights abuses. The regime has been accused of committing egregious violations of human rights, including the jailing of political prisoners and the use of torture. Despite its close relationship with North Korea, however, Russia has largely kept silent on the matter, even though it is a signatory to the United National Human Rights Convention.

China’s Influence

Furthermore, while Russia has traditionally been the primary backer of North Korea, the relationship between the two nations has become increasingly strained due to the emergence of China as the main provider of economic aid to North Korea. This has caused some tensions between Russia and North Korea, as both countries compete for influence in the region.

Economic Weight

Despite the recent tensions, however, it appears that Russia and North Korea remain dedicated to maintaining and strengthening their close ties. Russia continues to provide economic aid and support to North Korea, which has enabled the hermit state to survive the economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations. Additionally, Russia’s economic weight has allowed it to remain a strong political supporter of North Korea, providing the hermit state with diplomatic backing and increasing its regional influence.

Future Cooperation

Looking ahead, it is likely that the close relationship between Russia and North Korea will remain strong in the future. The two nations have a long history of collaboration and have numerous joint agreements and projects in place. Additionally, the strong economic ties between the two countries should ensure that the relationship remains strong in the coming years. As a result, it is likely that Russia and North Korea will continue to cooperate closely in a range of areas in the years to come.

Cassie Grissom is an American journalist and author living in Seoul, South Korea. She has been studying the Korean peninsula since 2011, and her work focuses on understanding human rights issues in North Korea. In addition to her work as an author, Cassie is an active advocate for human rights in North Korea. She regularly shares stories about life in North Korea with international audiences to raise awareness of the plight of its citizens.

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