Who Are Allies With North Korea

Political Relations

North Korea is an authoritarian state located in East Asia and its relations with world powers are tense, particularly when it comes to its nuclear weapons capabilities. North Korea is officially allied with China and Russia, two of its only remaining allies on the international stage. While both countries have a strained relationship with the United States, they have nonetheless maintained bilateral relations with North Korea and stand in strong support of its government. China and Russia have both provided diplomatic, economic and military assistance to North Korea in the past, though some of this support has been reduced in recent years. China is the largest trading partner of North Korea, although trade between the two countries has dropped significantly in recent years due to UN sanctions imposed on Pyongyang.

Regional Allies

North Korea also retains strong ties with several other Asian countries, mainly in Southeast Asia. These countries include Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar. North Korea has experienced strong diplomatic ties with these countries and has formed economic and political alliances with them. North Korea also has growing ties with Mongolia, and the two countries have sought to deepen their cooperation in areas such as infrastructure and energy. Japan, South Korea and North Korea are also engaged in high-level talks regarding the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, although progress has been slow.

United Nations

North Korea is a member of the United Nations and its numerous agencies, and is an observer to the Non-Aligned Movement. North Korea’s participation in the United Nations has been largely limited to joining in debates on issues related to the Korean Peninsula. North Korea has also abstained from many UN resolutions that were critical of its human rights record. It has also rejected a number of UN-led initiatives involving the reunification of the Korean Peninsula, though it has engaged in some limited talks with South Korea over the issue.

Military Alliances

North Korea has close military ties with its allies China and Russia. In addition to providing military support, both countries have supplied North Korea with several types of weapons, including tanks, planes and submarines. However, China and Russia have maintained an arms embargo against North Korea, largely in response to its nuclear weapons program. North Korea also has military alliances with Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar, although the nature of these alliances is not clear.

Economic Ties

North Korea’s economic ties with its allies are limited, though it does have some limited economic relations. For example, China is the largest trading partner of North Korea and provides substantial economic support to the country. China also provides North Korea with oil, along with other basic necessities. Russia, on the other hand, is less of an economic partner and provides North Korea with access to certain technologies and services. North Korea also maintains some economic ties with its regional allies, such as Vietnam and Laos, though the extent of these ties is not clear.

Cultural Alliances

North Korea’s allies are not just limited to its political and economic ties, but also include those of a cultural nature. For example, North Korea and China have a shared history and their two cultures, including the Korean and Chinese languages, have been intertwined over the centuries. North Korea has also adopted aspects of the culture of its regional allies, such as traditional art, music, and architecture. North Korea has also adopted some aspects of Russian culture, including its traditional music, art, and literature.

Domestic Alliances

The most important allies of North Korea are its domestic ones. North Korea’s ruling party, the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), has enjoyed a high degree of support from its citizens, with most viewing it as the legitimate governing force in the country. North Korea also boasts a strong and organized military, which is an important ally to the government and helps to maintain control and stability in the country. The country’s government also has the support of much of the international community, which has helped it to survive and remain a stable, albeit isolated, country over the past decades.

Human Rights Alliances

North Korea’s human rights situation is recognized as one of the worst in the world, with Amnesty International estimating that around 200,000 people are currently being held in prison camps by the state. Despite this, North Korea’s allies have largely been unwilling to take action or speak out against the state’s human rights abuses. Its allies, including China and Russia, have instead focused on maintaining bilateral ties rather than taking steps to improve the country’s human rights record.

Propaganda Alliances

North Korea has an extensive propaganda network which is used to propagate its views and distort reality. North Korea’s allies, particularly China and Russia, have also come under scrutiny for supporting this propaganda campaign. They have been accused of providing North Korea with the resources and tools it needs to produce and spread propaganda, as well as spreading propaganda themselves.


North Korea has been subject to numerous sanctions from the United Nations and other countries, largely in response to its nuclear weapons program and human rights abuses. Its allies have generally refrained from imposing such sanctions, though some have been open to the idea, including China. China has imposed some economic sanctions on North Korea, though these have not been very effective at curtailing the country’s activities or improving its human rights situation.

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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