U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Tuesday U.N. member states enforcing the Korean War armistice are concerned that China and Russia are helping North Korea expand its military capabilities by enabling Pyongyang to evade U.N. sanctions, APA reports citing Reuters.
Austin was speaking at a meeting in South Korea with defence ministers and representatives from the 17 countries that make up the U.N. Command (UNC) - the body that oversees the armistice.
"We are deeply concerned that the PRC and Russia are helping the DPRK expand its capabilities by enabling it to evade sanctions from the U.N. Security council," Austin said, referring to the People's Republic of China and North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
"We're also troubled by the recent growth in military cooperation between Russia and the DPRK," he said.
Washington has accused North Korea of supplying military equipment to Russia for use in its war with Ukraine, and Moscow of providing technical military support to help the North.
North Korea and Russia have denied any arms deals, though their leaders pledged closer military cooperation when they met in September in Russia's far east.