What North Korea's Rare Visit to Iran Could Signal

Little is revealed, but speculation abounds
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2024 11:30 AM CDT
North Korea's Visit to Iran Is Put Under the Microscope
A TV screen shows a report of North Korea's multiple rocket launchers during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

The trip garnered a single sentence on the subject from the Korean Central News Agency but far more analysis outside of North Korea. That sentence confirmed the country on Tuesday sent a delegation helmed by External Economic Relations Minister Yun Jong Ho to Iran. It's the first time Pyongyang has sent senior officials to visit the country since 2019, and it follows a visit Yun made earlier this month to Russia. The development is putting a spotlight on the military cooperation between North Korea and Iran and the possibility that their weapons are making their way into conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine. How the visit is being discussed:

  • The AP sees it as Kim Jong Un further "embracing the idea of a 'new Cold War' [by] pushing to build up cooperation with countries confronting the United States."
  • At the Washington Post, Adam Taylor sees one main deviation from the Cold War, "where ideology at least nominally bound the Communist bloc against the West ... what we have now is better understood as a 'marriage of convenience' between a number of disparate nations. That doesn't mean it will end in divorce, however. What's driving these agreements is not just convenience, but also desperation."
  • From Time: "While there have not been any specific allegations of recent arms transfers between North Korea and Iran, there are items that each could want from the other. Energy-strained North Korea could benefit from Iran's oil and might be looking to acquire drones like those Tehran has sent to Russia, arms [expert] Lami Kim said, adding Iran's nuclear program could receive a boost from North Korean technology."
(More North Korea stories.)

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