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The announced rapprochement between North Korea and Russia tends to present itself as the creation of an Asian bloc capable of competing with the Western sphere. But the excessively divergent interests of the two countries demonstrate limits.

While the effect of international sanctions is now really being felt in Russia, even though it has increased its exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe by 40%, and the Ukrainian counter-offensive is jeopardizing every day a little more the plans of the Russian operation opened in February 2022, Vladimir Putin must receive, as part of an official visit in the coming days to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un.

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Can we therefore speak of a rapprochement between the two countries and the two men? In the formal sense of the term yes, but for what purpose? North Korea, in absolute cold with the Western world and the United States in particular, located a stone's throw from Japan, a space under the protection of Washington, indulges, by this trip, in a form of provocation that pleases both Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-Un.

Diplomatic Gain

But this is certainly the only diplomatic gain of this trip. If Russia can be proud of this trip for the same reasons as North Korea, specifically to annoy the West, the said appointment will in no way be marked by any statements or acts in the making likely to change the course of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict or relations with the United States.

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And for good reason, these two countries that are North Korea and Russia are now at a standstill. Excluded from international treaties and the G20 for Russia, locked in sterile autocratic logics, Russia and North Korea seem to be agitating themselves in an empty jar with the idea that this agitation will scare the planet.

If one can potentially grant some facilities in obtaining cheap oil to the second, the other by sending a few thousand tons of coal, there are few advantages that can derive its two countries from a rapprochement of circumstance that is part of the desire to make a common front against the United States and the West.

With a growing presence and influence in Africa, Russia may nevertheless be of relative interest to a North Korea ostracized by nations. But if this Russian influence in Africa is real, it is still too disparate despite the multiplication of coups in recent months in West Africa where Russia has, in an underlying way, played a role.

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However, it remains to be seen how soon China, another power involved in Asia and Africa, will whistle the end of recess, annoyed in turn by the gesticulations of an aging dictator and a younger one fed by exacerbated nationalism?

For the time being, the announced Russian Korean rapprochement does not seem to panic the international chancelleries, convinced that the dynamic engaged is based more on a form of bravado, or even on the desperate search for second-rate allies than on the development of a diplomatic strategy aimed at creating an Asian bloc stretching from the Urals to the China Sea.

A diplomatic maneuver that went almost unnoticed, this rapprochement testifies above all to the isolation of Russia and North Korea, far from the creation of a new political bloc, the interests of Russia and Korea being too divergent to pose as a real competitor of the Western sphere.

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Bio: Olivier Longhi has extensive experience in European history. A seasoned journalist with fifteen years of experience, he is currently professor of history and geography in the Toulouse region of France. He has held a variety of publishing positions, including Head of Agency and Chief of Publishing. A journalist, recognized blogger, editor, and editorial project manager, he has trained and managed editorial teams, worked as a journalist for various local radio stations, a press and publishing consultant, and a communications consultant.

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