Expert: N.Korea aiming for alliance to counter Japan, US, S.Korea

A Japanese expert on the Korean Peninsula says North Korean leader Kim Jong Un apparently wants to create an axis to counter Japan, the United States and South Korea by signing a comprehensive strategic partnership treaty with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Hiraiwa Shunji, a professor at Nanzan University, pointed to Kim's emphasis on "alliance" at the joint news conference with Putin. He noted North Korea is already allied with China.

Hiraiwa said that on the other hand, Putin did not refer to an alliance, but instead put emphasis on a more comprehensive strengthening of bilateral relations.

He said Russia appears to have the ongoing Western supply of weapons to Ukraine in mind when it refers to military assistance for North Korea.

Hiraiwa added that the upgrading of cooperative ties between the two countries should be considered a threat to Japan's national security.

He said if Russia's military cooperation with North Korea proceeds on a large scale, that would enable the North to achieve much of its five-year national defense plan.

He pointed out that Japan must strengthen cooperation with the US and South Korea to bolster deterrence, while lobbying China to play a role in regional security.