Vice President Kamala Harris said it would be a “huge mistake” for Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim John Un to meet following a warning by U.S. officials that arms negotiations between the countries are “actively advancing.”
Earlier this week, the New York Times reported that the two leaders are planning to meet this month in Russia, likely in Vladivostok. Putin is seeking more weapons for his country’s war in Ukraine, and Kim is looking for “advanced technology for satellites and nuclear-powered submarines” and food, according to the Times.
In an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation” set to air in full Sunday, Harris warned the partnership would backfire.
“The idea that they would be supplying ammunition to that end, it would be a huge mistake,” Harris told CBS host Margaret Brennan, speaking from Indonesia. “I also believe very strongly that for both Russia and North Korea, this will further isolate them.”
Harris is not the only Biden administration official to sound the alarm over the meeting.
National security adviser Jake Sullivan said Tuesday that North Korea would “pay a price for this in the international community” if it chose to supply weapons to Russia for use in the battlefield in Ukraine.
In August, the U.S. announced sanctions against three entities for allegedly trying to facilitate arms deals between Russia and North Korea.
The vice president added to CBS that Putin’s willingness to speak to Kim is indicative of Russia’s desperation as the war drags on.
“At the beginning of it all a year and a half ago, the pundits were saying that this would be over in days,” Harris said. “Well, the Ukrainians are still fighting.”
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu recently visited Pyongyang with the aim of convincing Kim to sell artillery ammunition to Moscow. Another group of Russian officials subsequently traveled to the country to continue those negotiations, the White House said Tuesday.