Australia has condemned Russia for receiving ballistic missiles from North Korea as well as their use against Ukraine.
“The transfer of these weapons increases the suffering of the Ukrainian people, supports Russia’s war of aggression and undermines the global non-proliferation regime,” the joint statement signed by some 50 nations said.
“We are deeply concerned about the security implications that this cooperation has in Europe, on the Korean Peninsula, across the Indo-Pacific region and around the world.”
But the short-range missiles being sold are unlikely to be a threat beyond the Korean peninsula and possibly Japan, military technology expert Malcolm Davis told AAP.
“These are battlefield weapons with a range of a few hundred kilometers,” the Australian Strategic Policy Institute senior analyst told AAP.
“If they start selling Russia longer range weapons then it becomes interesting.”
Russia’s use of North Korean ballistic missiles “also provides valuable technical and military insights”, the joint statement adds.
“We are closely monitoring what Russia provides to (North Korea) in return for these weapons exports,” it continues.
If the missiles prove effective against US Patriot missile defence systems in Ukraine, then other nations would need to reconsider their air defences, Dr Davis said.
“We will be watching very closely how those missiles perform and to what extent the Ukrainians can bring them down,” he said.
The transfer of missiles and other weapons from North Korea violates multiple United Nations resolutions.
“As Russia launches waves of missiles and drones against the Ukrainian people, we will continue to stand together in support of Ukraine,” the statement says.
“We further call on (North Korea) to respond to the numerous and genuine offers to return to diplomacy, the only path to an enduring peace on the Korean Peninsula.”
(Australian Associated Press)