Are Putin and Kim Jong-Un Planning an ‘October Surprise’ to Help Trump?

News & Politics

One of the unintended consequences of the Ukraine War is the developing relationship between Russia and North Korea. North Korea has supplied Russia with badly needed ammunition and artillery shells while Moscow has begun to transfer technology to Pyongyang.

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It’s a symbiotic relationship that will grow even closer in the coming weeks when Russian President Vladimir Putin visits North Korea to formally cement the partnership.

With Moscow’s backing, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may be unleashed, say several military and intelligence sources in the U.S.

“We have no doubt that North Korea will be provocative this year. It’s just a matter of how escalatory it is,” a U.S. intelligence official said.  

NBC News reports that “U.S. officials are also bracing for North Korea to potentially take its most provocative military actions in a decade close to the U.S. presidential election, possibly at Putin’s urging, the officials said.”

Kim isn’t stupid. He may be a fanatic, but taking military action against the South would mean curtains for his weak nation. What’s more likely is a demonstration of some kind. Could it be a new Russian-designed submarine capable of launching an ICBM?

U.S. intelligence officials believe Putin is providing North Korea with nuclear submarine and ballistic missile technology in exchange for Pyongyang’s sending Russia large amount of munitions for its war in Ukraine, the senior U.S. officials said. North Korea provides Russia with more munitions than Europe provides to Ukraine, including millions of artillery shells.

Officials are also concerned that Russia might help North Korea complete the final steps needed to field its first submarine able to launch a nuclear-armed missile.

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

One big problem is trying to figure out what kind of military technology Putin is giving to Kim. 

“The higher-end Russia technical assistance comes in forms that are very difficult indeed to monitor,” a senior administration official said.

I can’t believe that Putin would actually give the North Korean man-child the capability to launch a nuke from a submarine. It’s extremely provocative. But that sub-tech might be the price for North Korea to continue to supply millions of shells to the Ukraine front.

Another potential provocative move by Kim would be conducting a nuclear test.

U.S. officials also said there has been increased activity at one of the North Korean nuclear test facilities, which could indicate preparations for another test. Satellite images published in April by Beyond Parallel, a project examining the Korean Peninsula at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, showed activity at Tunnel No. 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 the required preparations for conducting a seventh nuclear test from the tunnel.”

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The possibility of some kind of military display or even an attack by North Korea on South Korea’s perimeter in October might help Biden more than Trump. But NBC needed a hook for their story on Russia and North Korea, so when in doubt. get Trumpy.

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