The United States on Wednesday voiced alarm at new military cooperation between Russia and North Korea after the two countries' leaders met.
The cooperation announced during North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's visit to Russia's far east is "quite troubling and would potentially be in violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions," State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters. He noted US concerns that North Korean satellites, on which Russian President Vladimir Putin promised cooperation, have been used to develop Pyongyang's ballistic missiles.
The United States "will not hesitate" to impose sanctions if appropriate, Miller said.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said separately: "Any arrangements that would improve North Korea's military capabilities would certainly be of concern."
Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in an interview aired Wednesday, said that Russia's reliance on North Korea and Iran showed its dire situation as it wages its war in Ukraine.
"That's kind of a 'Star Wars' bar scene of countries. So I think it does speak to Russia's desperation," Blinken told the Pod Save the World podcast.
"We're looking to make sure that we, as necessary, can impose costs and consequences."
Anatoly Antonov, Russia's ambassador to the United States, slammed Washington's response to the Putin-Kim summit.
"The USA has no right to teach us how to live," he said in comments posted on the embassy's Telegram.
"Washington's duplicity is absolutely nothing new: Americans can supply weapons to a hot spot -- that is, Ukraine -- but Russian military-technical cooperation with foreign countries, according to the administration's logic, is illegal."
As for the threat of further sanctions, he said that "in the conditions of thousands of existing restrictions, it is unlikely that local Russophobes will find anything else that could hurt our interests.
"It's time for Washington to throw away its sanctions baton and think about how to build equal relationships with all states."