North Korea has warned the United States to “keep its mouth shut” after the US said Russia had made a “potential purchase” of weaponry from North Korea.
North Korea has said it has never supplied weapons to Russia and has no plans to, according to the country’s state media.
On Thursday, North Korea accused the US of “tarnishing” the country’s image as the KCNA (Korean Central News Agency) read out a statement from a North Korean official.
It read: “Recently, the US and other hostile forces talked about the ‘violation of a resolution of the UNSC [UN Security Council], spreading a ‘rumour of arms dealings’ between the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] and Russia.
“We have never exported weapons or ammunition to Russia before and we will not plan to export them.”
The KCNA said the statement was from the vice-director general of the general bureau of equipment of the ministry of national defence but did not give out the official’s name during the announcement.
Earlier this month, the US said Russia could be about to buy “literally millions” of shells and rockets from North Korea.
Vedant Patel, the US State Department deputy spokesperson, said that Russia “is in the process of purchasing millions of rockets and artillery shells from North Korea for use in Ukraine.”
The White House security spokesperson, John Kirby, later said there were “no indications that that purchase has been completed and certainly no indications that those weapons are being used inside of Ukraine.”
Mr Kirby called it a “potential purchase” and continued: “Our sense is it could include literally millions of rounds, rockets and artillery shells from North Korea. That’s what our information gives us – it could be on that scale.”
He added: “We don’t have any indication that the purchase has actually occurred yet so it’s difficult to say what it’s actually going to end up looking like.”
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Russian leader Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have recently spoken to each other.
In August, the KCNA reported that President Putin had sent a letter for North Korea’s liberation day, which said closer ties would be in both countries’ interests.
The Russian President told Kim Jong Un that both countries will “expand the comprehensive and constructive bilateral relations with common efforts.”
The North Korean leader also sent a letter to Mr Putin, which said the friendship between the two counties began in World War III over their victory over Japan.
Ukraine severed relations with North Korea this summer after Pyongyang acknowledged two Ukraine regions currently occupied by Russia as independent states.