US says it “will not hesitate” to impose sanctions if weapons are transferred between North Korea and Russia

The United States “will not hesitate to impose sanctions” if the meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un results in weapons transfers between the two countries, the US State Department said.

“We have taken a number of actions already to sanction entities that have brokered arms sales between North Korea and Russia, and we won’t hesitate to impose additional actions if appropriate,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said Wednesday.

Ahead of the Putin-Kim summit, US officials warned that Russia and North Korea are “actively advancing” in a potential arms deal that could see Pyongyang provide weapons for Moscow to use in its faltering Ukraine war in exchange for sanctioned ballistic missile technology.

Miller said that the US has not raised the issue of Russia potentially providing nuclear technology to North Korea with China, but that he anticipated they would.

“Secretary Blinken raised North Korea’s nuclear program and North Korea’s ballistic missile program in his engagements with Chinese officials when we were in Beijing, and we’ve regularly raised that in our conversations with Chinese officials,” Miller said.

Miller also condemned North Korea’s overnight ballistic missile launches.